Volunteer Spotlight

Winter 2017

Chris Nielsen has been volunteering with Evergreen Habitat for Humanity since September 2014. Chris was a Security Policeman in the Air Force on active duty from 1972 – 1975; stationed in San Antonio Texas, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand and finally in Tacoma, Washington. He then spent another 17 years in the Air Force Reserves and then the Air National Guard, working as a Contract Specialist in Portland, retiring from the Guard in 2002.

In 1983, he graduated from Humboldt State University. Shortly after, Chris got a job with the Corps of Engineers as a Contract Specialist. After 10 years there, he transferred to Bonneville Power Administration where he finished his career, retiring in 2012.

Volunteering has been a large part of Chris’s life, always trying to stay active and busy. After moving to Sherwood, Oregon in 1990, he joined Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue as a volunteer firefighter. While it wasn’t something that he was initially excited about, he ended up thoroughly enjoying it, finding it to be tremendous fun and satisfying, albeit sometimes heartbreaking.

Chris was first turned on to Habitat while working at BPA. They encouraged employees to give back to the community with various volunteer opportunities, including Habitat for Humanity in Portland. After retiring from BPA  he starting volunteering with Evergreen Habitat for Humanity. “I have always enjoyed building things, even though I may not be the most proficient volunteer on site. I’m sure I made a great first impression, the first day volunteering, I managed to cut the power cord on one of the skill saws. The construction manager didn’t get excited about it – he just repaired the saw and none of the regulars  made me feel stupid.”

Now you can find Chris out on our site pretty much every Wednesday. Whether it’s digging post holes, crouching in crawl spaces, or up on a roof, Chris is always willing to help. “It is very interesting and satisfying working with all the people at Habitat. It is a privilege to work with people who care enough about other people to try to make their lives better by helping them get into affordable housing. These are the things that keep me coming back. And when I look at many of the other volunteers who are 10+ years older than I, I realize I’ve got a lot more years to give”.


Thank you for everything you do to make our community a better, Chris. We look forward to continuing to build together.