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2 Orange Co. grandparents volunteer, construct change

July 28, 2017 GMT

Two Orange County grandparents are making a difference. They are helping to build a record-breaking number of homes -- for free. The couple are regular volunteers with Orange County’s Habitat for Humanity and are changing lives.

When you’ve helped build as many homes as this husband and wife team, keeping count can be tough. Jim Heffernan speculated, “I was guessing a few minutes ago and I’m going to say probably 140!”

Jim and Linda Heffernan have worked on 140 Habitat for Humanity houses in Orange County alone.

Jim Heffernan said, “The main thing is a willingness to get your hands dirty and sometimes your feet dirty too.”

Despite never having any construction experience, these grandparents say they felt called to this work back in 2001. “I didn’t know a 16 nail from an 8 nail, but I learned. I don’t have the strength that a lot of volunteers have, but once you learn the tricks of the trade there’s usually a way to help you accomplish what they want you to do,” stated Linda Heffernan.


Habitat for Humanity relies on donations to fund homes and volunteers to help build them. All families who receive a home are required to pay a small down payment and also spend hundreds of hours helping the organization.

Savanna Melton, with Orange County Habitat for Humanity, shared, “It takes the community to make these projects happen.”

Because of that community and volunteers like Linda and Jim Heffernan, one more Orange County family will soon have a brand new window of opportunity.

Linda Heffernan said, “If you can strengthen a family, you can strengthen the children. A strong family builds a strong community.”

Editor’s note: WRAL’s parent company, Capitol Broadcasting, partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help build four homes in Wake, Durham, Orange and Cumberland counties. Two of the four homes are still in the process of being built!