At the Colts facility, it’s usually a football team they’re building this time of year. But on Friday morning, it was a home.
There were piles of lumber in the parking lot next to the practice field. There were tools – hammers and saws and nails. And there were workers – men and women from the Colts organization, Stanley Security, and Habitat for Humanity, who all came together to construct a two-story home.
“Somewhere around the world, every 10 minutes, a family is cutting the ribbon to their Habitat home and moving in,” said Ted Mosey, Development Director for Habitat for Humanity. “And that happens one family at a time.”
In a matter of months, it will be Dionna Dowdell and her family moving into their brand new home – the home that began in the Colts parking lot.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “It means everything because someone cares. They could have been in there working and they’re out here helping me and my babies have a house.”
What they were really doing was working alongside Dowdell while she helps herself.
“It’s a beautiful thing to look at the walls and say, ‘I know that I built these with my friends at the Colts and Stanley and I know that I put in these nails or painted this wall with other volunteers,’” said Abri Hochstetler with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity. “It makes it even more impactful and memorable and our homeowners really value that experience.”
It’s an experience the Colts value as well.
“It’s a great opportunity for us as an organization to come out here, come together, serve, give back, that’s what we’re all about,” said Coach Chuck Pagano. “It’s a great, great deal. I’m really happy for Dionna and her family.”
Working side-by-side with Colts coaches, cheerleaders, and employees creates a lasting memory itself.
“We’re building a house, but we’re building a team at the same time,” said Tony Buffum, Vice President of Human Resources for Stanley Security. “And to do that with the Colts, everybody loves the Colts. It’s a great team and a great organization. So to come out and do that with these great organizations, the team gets excited about it, they have a lot of fun, and they walk away with memories of doing this together as a group that’s well beyond anything they do in the office.”
And just like building a football team, building a house takes different kinds of people with different skills.
“Everybody’s got a duty and we all fulfill it the best we can and work together to get this house built,” said Colts General Manager Chris Ballard. “All these helpers out here, all our Colts employees, and then all the other volunteers that are helping instruct us, it’s been a pretty amazing process to watch and go through.”
Also in attendance were Dowdell’s children.
“I wanted for them to see that Mommy worked hard. Nothing was given to us, I put in a lot of hours, I put in a lot of work,” she said.
“That is one of the biggest things that our homeowners mention is that they’re setting a positive example for their children,” Hochstetler said. “They’re showing them not to give up on their dreams.”
— Colts Community (@coltscommunity) June 12, 2017
For Dowdell, it was her children who motivated her to get a home in the first place.
“My daughter has planned her whole life around this house and her room. She’s like, ‘It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be a princess room,’” she said. “This will be part of our experience forever because this is our house. Everybody here helped us build our house.”
For the Colts, it’s not just about building a great football team. It’s about building a great community.
And they’re not afraid to get hands-on to do it.