Wednesday , 25 April 2018

McKinney –area residents travel to Honduras to build houses

A grandmother raising 12 grandchildren in Puerta  Lempira, Honduras, is desperately in need of a home.   A team of 13 McKinney area residents will travel to this poor Central American country to build that home from January 31 to February 9.

The group is part of a Habitat for Humanity International Global Village team of volunteers traveling from the US for this mission. This is the second time a group from North Collin County Habitat for Humanity, NCC Habitat, has

Volunteers include Mike Anderson, a member of last year’s team, a former engineer in the wireless telecommunications industry.  Mike and wife Heather have been married 24 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 3 boys is Canadian from a small community in rural Ontario.  She and her husband and 2 of their sons moved to Texas from California in 2012.  Jill is very involved with Habitat, going to Honduras last year and helping on several local builds.

Jill has had a variety of jobs over the years as a teacher, administrative assistant and her own painting and decorating business, but none have been more important than taking care of her children and aging parents.

David Cox, who has built for Habitat since 2007, traveled to Honduras last year, 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, grandson, cat, dog and rabbit.

Celeste Cox, NCC Habitat Executive Director, and has been with the affiliate for ten years. She has traveled to Haiti and led last year’s team to Honduras.   She has 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 3 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.

Longtime volunteer Jim Peters, another member of last year’s team, 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 10 years and he and wife Connie have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Connie Peters is looking forward to joining her husband on this year’s trip.  She recently retired from the healthcare field where she worked with the VA hospital.  She enjoys sewing, reading and biking.

Current NCC Habitat Board President Larry Pietenpol and wife Lisa are also traveling to Honduras for the second time.  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 has 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.

Connie and Sid Gibson are local McKinney residents are looking forward to their first visit to Honduras.  They have been married 31 years and have 3 boys, 2 grandchildren and are expecting another.  Connie is employed by McKinney Community Development Corporation and enjoys being creative and bargain shopping.  Sid is a TI engineer and enjoys cars, hunting and fishing.

Also joining the team is Kevin Krantz, originally from Chicago, has been a Texas resident since 1993.  He and wife Beth have 5 children.  Kevin is employed by Ericsson and is involved with a prison ministry.

David Winter, a volunteer with Habitat for more than a year will also be joining the Honduras team this year.  He has been married to Linda for 29 years and has a stepson and 2 grandchildren, ages 5 and 2.  David is retired but stays busy volunteering, wood working and gold mining.

A student at the University of North Texas, Gabrielle (Gaby) Shaw is anticipating her volunteer trip to Central America to further her studies in Spanish and International Study.   Her hobbies include martial arts, traveling and reading.

For additional information and photos of homes in Honduras, please visit the website, or follow the blog at


Habitat team leaves Friday for Honduras.  Team members are, left to right, Dave Cox, Celeste Cox, David Winter, Gabrielle Shaw, Larry Pietenpol, Jill Bissell, Jim Peters, Connie Peters, Kevin Krantz, Lisa Pietenpol, Connie Gibson and Sid Gibson.  Not shown – Mike Anderson
Habitat team leaves Friday for Honduras. Team members are, left to right, Dave Cox, Celeste Cox, David Winter, Gabrielle Shaw, Larry Pietenpol, Jill Bissell, Jim Peters, Connie Peters, Kevin Krantz, Lisa Pietenpol, Connie Gibson and Sid Gibson. Not shown – Mike Anderson

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