Friday , 22 June 2018

12 McKinney Area Residents Travel to Honduras to Build Homes with North Collin County Habitat for Humanity

TSB Community Contributor

Karla Michel and her son, Carlos, a toddler, are in desperate need of a home. They live in Honduras, one of the poorest of all South American countries and are living with her mother. Both Karla and Carlos are special needs persons as they were born with only two fingers on each hand. Karla has had difficulty finding employment due to her disability.

A team of 12 McKinney area residents will be building the young family a new home in Puerta Lempira as part of the Global Village team of volunteers, traveling from the U.S. and sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International.The group, from North Collin County Habitat for Humanity (NCC Habitat), leaves February 15 and will return February 24.

Volunteers include Mike Anderson, a former engineer in the wireless telecommunications industry. Mike and wife Heather have been married 23 years and have three teenage children. He is a veteran of many mission trips, including building homes and churches in Tijuana, Mexico, home reconstruction in hurricane-hit areas and is a regular volunteer for NCC Habitat.

Jill Bissell, wife and mother of three boys, moved to Texas from Canada last year and quickly began volunteering with NCC Habitat. She enjoys hockey, skiing, cutting the grass and being with family and friends.

Also joining the team is David Cox, who has built for Habitat since 2007 and traveled to the Gulf Coast and twice to Haiti as part of the Jimmy Carter Work Project. He has been an electrician for more than 30 years and works for Simpson Strong-Tie.  David and his electrical crew have wired 20 habitat houses and worked on both ReStores. He is married to Celeste Haiduk Cox, who he met through Habitat and has a daughter, 18-month-old grandson, a cat, dog and rabbit. 
Wife Celeste is the NCC Habitat Executive Director and has been with the affiliate for nine years, hired as the first paid staff. She has traveled to Haiti and directed the building of 83 homes in North Collin County as well as two ReStores.  She lives in a McKinney historic home with David and her three children, Sebastian, Luciano and Sofia.

She was formerly involved with local government administration, including president of the McKinney Community Development Corporation. She serves on the Habitat Texas Board and is a member of Rotary and the Historic Neighborhood Association. She is a Sunday school teacher and volunteers at a local elementary school.

Also traveling to Honduras is Jim German, who has been a Habitat volunteer since 2004 and served as president of the board of directors. He is married to Elizabeth and has two grown children and a grandson. Jim is president of NatureZone, Inc, a landscape and irrigation design and build firm. He has lived in the Dallas area since 1958.

Dennis Heydanek, former NCC Habitat board president, worked for Dow Chemical Company for 30 years and has traveled extensively to 23 countries.  Since he retired in 2000, he has been a Habitat volunteer and enjoys travel, golf and fishing.  He and wife Jane have five grandchildren.

McKinney resident Larry Horner served as a jumpmaster in the 82nd Airborne Division and is employed by AT&T. He holds a US Patent and has developed software and systems used in in more than 300 telecommunications networks around the globe. 

He has traveled to India, Japan and several countries in Europe as well as Bolivia and the Caribbean. Larry is married to Kathy and they have three children. He is an NCC Habitat volunteer and helping restore his son’s 95-year-old McKinney home.  He is a golfer and also enjoys reading and researching and is a member of the architectural review committee of his homeowner’s association and on the Parish Council at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church.

Richard and Sheila Miller, McKinney residents, are also part of the Global Village Team.  They will celebrate 40 years of marriage in March. Richard worked in the television industry for more than 30 years in Dallas and California and is retired.  Sheila has served in the nonprofit field for more than 20 years, most recently as executive director of Volunteer McKinney.  She currently works for NCC Habitat part-time. The couple has two children and four grandchildren.

Longtime volunteer Jim Peters has a lengthy construction background, having worked for Overhead Door Corporation and Pella Windows.  Prior to his retirement, Jim was associated with TNS Partners, Inc., as a retained executive search consultant.

He is a regular at most NCC Habitat build sites and has served as crew leader, house leader, chair of the construction committee and electrician.  He has volunteered for ten years and is married to Connie. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Current NCC Habitat Board President Larry Pietenpol and wife Lisa are also traveling to Honduras.  He has been a Habitat volunteer for more than 14 years, primarily on the building committee.  The couple has lived in McKinney for 18 years, and have been married for 31. Larry was formerly with JCPenney as a senior buyer and now serves as a consultant for Fila USA.

Lisa recently retired from Crum & Forster Insurance as regional claims manager, where she worked for 25 years. She enjoys sharing time with family and friends, and says she cannot think of a better way to enjoy retirement than giving someone the opportunity to have a house.

For additional information and photos of homes in Honduras, please visit the website,


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