Ken Wood, Habitat Hero

By any measure Ken Wood has made a remarkable contribution to Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity, our families, and our community - some of which we aren’t even aware of, but we’ll share the statistics as we know them.

By our calculations, Ken has helped to build 48 Habitat homes and has contributed a total of 6,456 volunteer hours to Habitat. Ken has also served on the Board of Trustees as both a member and President. As a construction volunteer he has been a House Leader, a Crew Leader, and a member of the Green Team. Ken has also served on several committees to include Construction Planning, Site Selection, and Faith Relations.  Thank you Ken, it's been an honor.


From Alison Beck Haas, Habitat Volunteer, Former Board Member, Former Staff

Ken Wood was the first friend I made when I began volunteering at Habitat for Humanity in 1995 and I am pleased to say we have remained true friends for more than 20 years.  He openly welcomed me to the job site at Garnet Street and soon invited me to join the Construction Committee.  It was his generosity of spirit and gentle encouragement that gave me the courage to tackle all things construction, from roofing and siding to hanging doors and windows.  He was a true leader among the skilled men at the job site, setting the tone for including all volunteers, assuring everyone had the opportunity to learn new skills to make a meaningful contribution.  Ken never forgot our true purpose as volunteers for Habitat:  giving a hand up to our partner families.  I saw him develop true connections to future homeowners, providing encouragement, mentoring them, and showing a genuine interest in who they were.

Ken is genuinely kind--I have never heard him speak ill of anyone and he has the rare ability to see the good in all of us.  He is truly humble--he has no need of congratulations or credit for the thousands and thousands of hours he has contributed to improving the lives of families and making our community better.  He is a quiet man with a wonderful sense of humor.  He has never failed to show me he is glad of our friendship, happy to see me wherever we meet.  

This is the most important thing I learned from Ken Wood:  there are people among us who truly walk their faith, whose beliefs are manifested in action, whose commitment to others comes from a deep and sacred place.  He taught me that good work is hard work, and doing hard work in service to others is its own reward.  Working with Ken showed me the true meaning of love.


From Kathy Vawter, Habitat Homeowner, Habitat Volunteer

I met Ken about 20 years ago when our house was almost finished. He was a very dedicated volunteer and loved helping others. He was always willing to take the time to show volunteers how to do a certain task. He was a great teacher, took great pride in helping build a house and was full of kindness. One of the best things I admired about Ken was that he always took the time to get to know the homeowner and their family when their house was being built. Ken, it has been an honor and privilege to know you and to have had the opportunity to work alongside with you in making families' dreams come true.  May you and Virginia enjoy a wonderful retirement.


From Tom Lay, BVHfH Executive Director

When Ken Wood made a commitment to Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity over 20 years ago there was no doubt he was “all in”.  His support has ranged from the boardroom to the worksite, with many stops in between. During the week he helped run the business, searched for land, and set the standard for our homes. On Saturday he built. He also built on Monday through Friday when needed.  Many Sundays would find him recruiting volunteers and raising money at his church, Cathedral of the Rockies.  He and Virginia supported our organization by their attendance at every fundraiser, recognition dinner, or other such BVHfH event.  We always knew we could count on the Woods. Thank you, Ken, for setting a standard by which we can all measure our commitment and caring.


From Susan Emerson, Habitat Volunteer, Former Board Member

Words to describe my memories of Ken – peaceful, compassionate, faithful, patient, a teacher. He was steadfast, hopeful, and excellent with the volunteers.  I know that he had a love of the Habitat mission and providing decent, affordable housing.  We are all human with our cranky moments and possibly Ken had his frustrations. However, as I write this, I truly cannot recall ever experiencing anything but a kind smile with a patient demeanor. Ken had a way of calming people and creating positive community.  What a terrific guy!  I feel honored to have gotten to spend time with him through Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity. 


From Berta Tavlin, Habitat Volunteer

Ken is such a good guy and so great to work with.  We began with construction site recycling and built our way up to a Green Team!  It was always a pleasure to share time with him and have his support on the team.  I so wish him well.


From Melody Stover, Habitat Homeowner

Ken is such an amazing and kind man.  I was so grateful he took me under his wing when I qualified for my home and had to start working on my sweat equity hours.  I had very little help from friends and family and I spent most of my sweat equity hours every weekend building other people's homes because mine was already built.  I had no idea what I was doing when I first started building.  When I showed up to my first job site I met Ken who instantly came up to me and got me started.  He was very patient and kind, made me feel very comfortable, and taught me everything I needed to know.  He is an amazing teacher and has all the patience in the world. He always made me feel so welcomed every time I was around him.  I truly looked forward to seeing him every time I went to a job site.  And his smile always made my day better.

Even when I finally got into my own home he helped me with tips on how to hang a coat rack and other things and supplied me with the tools to do so.  Ken is the kind of wonderful man who gives endlessly and whole heartedly. 

I can't say enough wonderful things about this neat man and I am so grateful for the time he was a part of my life. He made it so much better and easier to make it through my Habitat journey.

Thank you Ken for all you did for me and all that you taught me. You are absolutely amazing and I love you!

From Dean McKellip, Habitat Volunteer, Construction Crew Leader, Construction House Leader, Former Board Member, Former Committee Member

I met Ken and his wife Virginia during the coffee hour at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in the early 1970’s. Each Sunday we would share a cup of coffee, talk about our children which were about the same age, our work, the weather, and tell a few good jokes as friends do.  As the years passed along the friendship grew between our families.

I retired in the fall of 1997 and shortly after that the Church announced that FUMC was sponsoring a Habitat home near Veterans Parkway and State Street and volunteers were needed for work on Saturdays.  While having our cup of coffee after services, Ken and a mutual friend Bill Clark, who had been introduced to Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity by Doctor Bob Frazier, asked if I would be interested in acting as a crew leader for the new home being sponsored.  This was the beginning of a long friendship with a fellow Habitat volunteer. 

Since 1997 Ken has been involved, in some manner, in every Habitat home built - as a site selection committee member, a recruiter of volunteers, as a crew leader, and as a supporter of Habitat.  Ken is a person who will do whatever is needed.  He would be one of the first to arrive and the last to leave the job site.  His dedication is remarkable.

Ken has also served on the Board, food committee, fund raiser, and in making it known what Habitat for Humanity means to many new families in need.  Many a Sunday between church services it is not unusual to find Ken behind a table in the foyer, a large Habitat sign standing on the table, Ken with a signup sheet, pen in hand waving his friends over to volunteer.

In addition to his involvement with Habitat, Ken always seems to be available to help – a family in a need of a new roof, a family in need of structural modification to their home, Collister United Methodist Church Counseling Center serving the low income was in need of an updated restroom making it handicap compliant.  Ken found volunteers and organized the required materials and crews to complete the work.

Ken is heavily involved in his church activities.  Each month the church has a Friendship Feast for the homeless that serves several hundred people. Who is the chief dish washer? Ken Wood.

He is a friend I am proud to know.


From Ken Winer, Habitat Volunteer, Construction Crew Leader

Ken and his little blue pickup were instrumental in helping BVHfH earn the first Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating for a nonprofit homebuilder in the Northwest.  They took many loads of recyclable cardboard and wood scrap to the proper locations where they could be weighed in a manner for which we could receive environmental credits.  Ken also put in many hours taking loads to the landfill or cardboard recycler for many other construction projects, and often wound up going to our storage facilities to pick up materials needed on site.

Ken was one of the best instructors for inexperienced volunteers, always willing to give instruction and start with them at their skill level, which was often very limited.  He had a very high level of patience, and volunteers who worked with him always enjoyed their time on site.

Personally, I always enjoyed working with Ken.  We always had interesting conversations.  His long work history with BVHfH resulted in his being one of the experts on how things were done.  I could rely on his knowing how to do things with which I had not had sufficient experience.  We wound up developing a good friendship that I will always treasure as one of the best parts of my experience with BVHfH.