HOUSTON (October 30, 2008)

Several Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center employees spent their day off helping build a house for a family they have never met. Employees from the medicine intensive care unit, emergency center and food and nutrition services responded to a call for volunteers from Dave Garrison, an RN in MICU. His church sponsored a Habitat for Humanity house and volunteers were needed.

"I started talking to a few people at work about the project and they all jumped at the chance to help," said Garrison.

Ruthie Siska, MICU assistant nurse manager, was one of the first to volunteer. "I've never done anything like this before," said Siska. "I didn't know how to use tools but I thought I could help in some way."

Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds affordable houses for low-income families, doesn't require construction experience. On-site training is given to those whose skills may be a little rusty or non-existent. Siska and the other volunteers who had never used tools before learned quickly how to use concrete nail guns and power saws.

Building the frame and the walls of the house was the task for the day. Each volunteer played a role whether it was unloading the lumber, driving the nails into the frame or stabilizing ladders.

"We really enjoyed it and hope to do it again soon," said Garrison. "It felt good to know that our work was helping a family get to the next level in life."