Duffy family comes from New Jersey to Columbus to help build Habitat house

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 15, 2013 

Building the foundation of a house is not how many families would choose to spend their summer vacation but that is what Mike Duffy, his wife Sue and their sons Mike, Dan and Bill have chosen to do.

They traveled from Pompton Plains, N.J. to Columbus to do it.

The five Duffys are assisting with the construction of a Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity House on 20th Avenue.

The future tenants of the three-bedroom home are Clinton and Patricia Brownlee who are also participating in its building.

Construction manager Ryan Willoughby said students from Brookstone School will be among those helping to put the finishing touches on the 276th house built in Columbus by Habitat.

According to Willoughby, the Brownlee house is the fifth being built in this particular area off Cusseta Road. Willoughby called the Duffys “some of the hardest working people I have ever seen.”

He said with their help that two days work was done in one.

“They are always looking for something to do,” he said.

The father is the senior director of North American Operations/Facilities for Celgene, a major pharmaceutical company. The mother is a registered nurse. Mike, 20, and Bill, 19, attend Marist College in New York and Dan, 16, is a high school lacrosse player.

It was the oldest son’s idea to spend a working vacation helping others. He had done so in Mexico on a mission trip where he worked repairing a community center. The family had worked on a Habitat project in their hometown.

“We talked about helping a community and we wanted to come south,” the father said. “We sat around the table and discussed it. We just want to try and give back.”

“We feel like we’ve been blessed,” said the mother.

It was not easy to find a house to build. The family checked with 13 other Habitat affiliates could not find anyone building this time of year. “It took me three weeks,” the father said.

They are glad they landed where they did.

“I’m loving it,” Dan said. “It has been tough but I am getting a good workout.”

“I just like giving back and helping a community even if it is just a little bit,” Mike said.

Bill said he was learning a lot on the job, “some skills that will help me later.”

It has not been all work for the family. “We went whitewater rafting,” the mother said. “That was cool.”

The father said he loved the Southern hospitality and, most of all, the Southern food. He mentioned eating at Country’s Barbecue and Ezell’s Catfish Cabin. “Everything has been super,” he said.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service