It Only Takes One Person to Fulfill Many Dreams
Kathy Pechman, senior vice president at National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ), enjoys volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona (HFHCAZ) in her free time. When on a job site, she’s known as a “blue shirt.” The role of the “blue shirt” is to check-in and coordinate with volunteers, assuring that no tools or coffee cups are left on ladders and that everyone who needs to wear a mask is using one. She helps keep volunteers on the project safe.
“It’s all about affordable housing for me. It’s something I’ve been passionate about since I got my own first home,” says Pechman. “There’s a pride of ownership. And when you see someone realize that dream, someone who thought home ownership might never happen for them, that’s what makes being involved with Habitat so rewarding.”
Pechman has been with NB|AZ since 2005, but the bank has been a supporter of the nonprofit organization long before then.
“National Bank of Arizona plays several key roles; as a group of volunteers, as a donor and as a supporting bank for us,” says Todd Rogers, chief strategy officer for HFHCAZ. “They also provide key community leaders to help us grow and thrive as an organization.”
Recently, Pechman played an instrumental role in developing HFHCAZ’s five-year-plan by chairing the strategic planning committee. She also interviews potential board members alongside other committee members and encourages bank employees to volunteer whenever they can. This past April, NB|AZ held a statewide volunteer day. Painting a home for a Habitat family was one of the activities of choice and more than 25 NB|AZ employees participated.
“Kathy is a dynamic and passionate lady who really wants to help make the world a better place,” says Rogers. “She’s a bundle of laughs and always keeps things light hearted, yet at the same time, she’s an effective community leader who knows how to get things done. She’s a voice of reason who is caring and compassionate.”
It Begins at Home
Pechman’s involvement with HFHCAZ began in 2010, when NB|AZ donated a home to the program. Many bank employees volunteered to help rehabilitate the home and Pechman was one of them. She volunteered every Saturday for seven weeks as a “blue shirt” alongside 25 different bank employees each week. She was impressed by the bank volunteers and how they took in the family, and equally impressed by the family and how they worked for their home. She was also impressed with the nonprofit organization as a whole and made a home, so to speak, for herself within it.
Pechman recalls one of the days she volunteered. She was ready to carry out her role for the day when another woman showed up to be the site “blue shirt” too.
“I found out that she was a Habitat home owner and volunteers every Saturday because that’s how gratified she is to be a home owner. Every family is grateful. Habitat doesn’t just give the home away; the family has to put in their own sweat equity too. They aren’t getting something; they are earning something,” says Pechman. “I just love Habitat, I always have. It’s really a good organization.”
Built Upon Hope and Love
Habitat for Humanity’s vision is simple. They want a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Peruse their website and you’ll come across photos of wooden beams adorned with well wishes for the families. Rogers also explained that they host wall-signing ceremonies where families and volunteers write kind words on the wood, walls and floors.
“Once the house is built, the families remember that deep beneath the drywall and paint those words are the core and structure of their home. These homes are built upon hope and love,” says Rogers.
Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is currently accepting applications for their Reconstruct Program. Learn more about their housing programs, ReStore, volunteering and sponsorship opportunities at HabitatCaz.org. Learn more about National Bank of Arizona at NbArizona.com.