Nicole Davis - Habitat for Humanity Build

Nov. 24, 2008, 9:07 p.m. (ET)

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This Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining a few fellow Olympians for a great cause. We participated in a Habitat for Humanity build in the Colorado Springs area.  I was actually really excited to be involved in such a great opportunity.  I have been training in Colorado Springs on and off since 2000, and this was my first opportunity to get out and volunteer and Nicole Davis hammers away during the Habitat for Humanity project on Nov. 22 in Colorado Springs. Photo copyrighted by USA Volleyballgive back to the community.  I have NO, let me repeat NO, experience building homes, or doing anything relatively similar.  I have hammered a few nails in my lifetime, that's about it.

We started the morning working on the foundation of one house.  I somehow ended up with a hammer and a hand saw in my possession within minutes, and was hammering bits and pieces out of parts of the wall, and then sawing portions out to make room for the steel beams that we would drop into the slots a little later.  The boys did much of the heavy lifting.  The large steel beam that we inserted weighed more than 400 pounds.  It took about 10 people to carry it across the lot to the house.

After the beams were put into place, several of us went into the house next door and insulated the ENTIRE house!  I have never worked with insulation.  Laura and I teamed up, and knocked out what I believed to be the kitchen and dining room area in about 3 hours!  I was filthy dirty and covered in fiberglass at the end of that adventure, but felt a real sense of accomplishment.

We had to get really creative to complete some of the insulating at the top of the house.  We implemented a broom technique, and at one point Eli was lying on his back on wood beams just below the ceiling of the house to fill in the seams of the roof!  I think that was against the rules (there were 3, and I'm sure we broke every one of them) but it got the job done.

The rest of the day was spent trying to hammer the most impossible nails we had ever dealt with into wood beams and siding.  You know you are an athlete when you start competing with the people around you for the number of nails you actually successfully hammer into the wood without bending or breaking the nail.  I was 3 for 4 within five minutes.  I'm not bragging or anything.  Actually, I think I attempted to hammer in about 10-15 nails total that afternoon, and my bicep and forearm were sore before we left the build site. 

I would definitely jump at the chance to do this again.  I would just bring my own nail gun if I could! 

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