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Habitat for Humanity Hero Honored

Each year, hundreds of volunteers and professionals make Habitat's action plan a reality. One of those volunteers is Amos Anson.

Wed January 20, 2016 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Each year, hundreds of volunteers and professionals make Habitat's action plan a reality. One of those is Amos Anson of Grand Island.
Each year, hundreds of volunteers and professionals make Habitat's action plan a reality. One of those is Amos Anson of Grand Island.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Each year, Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity builds four to six homes to help families get a start in a better life, working toward the international organization's vision to build “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

The Grand Island Independent ( ) reports that the organization's mission statement is equally compelling: “Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.”

A recent ceremony dedicated another Habitat home, which was built by Career Pathways Institute students.

Each year, hundreds of volunteers and professionals make Habitat's action plan a reality. One of those is Amos Anson of Grand Island.

“Amos has been a vital part of the organization's strength,” said Dana Jelinek, executive director of the Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity. “Personally, I can't thank him enough for all he has done. I couldn't have done my job without him.”

Anson has been an active Habitat volunteer for more than 10 years. Last year, the organization recognized him for his decade of service.

Jelinek said Anson started volunteering on the organization's 36th home in the fall of 2005, framing with the Central Nebraska Home Builders Association. By the fall of 2006, Anson became a site supervisor, helping to lead the construction of homes. Jelinek said each home generally takes 15 Saturdays to build, using volunteer groups, subcontractors and suppliers.

Over the years, Anson has personally led construction of more than 18 homes.

Anson has also helped organize professional teams on three Home Builders Blitzes. During a blitz, workers construct a home in less than five days. Jelinek said the building blitzes take a tremendous amount of organizational skill.

“These require significant recruitment of professionals to volunteer their time, plus coordination of all the contractors and suppliers,” Jelinek said. “Generally, they take up to six months of prep work.

“He is highly organized as far as what needs to happen. He is remarkable at coordinating that and knows when people need to be on a build and getting them coordinated.”

Jelinek said Anson became Habitat's construction manager in 2007, overseeing all site supervisors and construction. She said Anson has also lent his expertise on land development, providing creative solutions and knowledge of tax-increment financing.

She said Anson also “loves the teaching part of the construction.”

One of the students who has worked with Habitat is Angel Velasco, who graduated from Grand Island Senior High in May and started his own home construction business.

“He was encouraged by Amos and Brett Forsman to bid out a project for Habitat,” Jelinek said. “Angel did the drywall finishing on the CPI (Career Pathways Institute) house, but Amos also hired him to do work at Tower 217 (the former Masonic Temple), and he has also hired him to work on the GIX Logistics building renovation in downtown.

“He (Anson) loves giving young people an opportunity because he was afforded that opportunity by others. He built his first house when he was 19,” Jelinek said.

Velasco said Anson has been a mentor for him as he pursues his dream of becoming a builder. Velasco built his first home when he was 18. He owns and operates AV Construction.

“He showed me that things can be done,” Velasco said. “He has done so much for the Grand Island community. I hope I can inspire someone like Amos has inspired me.”

Anson said the first time he helped Habitat was with the Central Nebraska Home Builders Association as part of a crew framing a home. He enjoyed the experience and decided to learn more about the organization.

“It was my love for building that led me to volunteer for the first time,” Anson said.

Like Velasco, Anson was instilled with the building ethic while attending Grand Island Senior High.

After graduating from Southeast Community College with a degree in building construction, Anson started FAmos Construction. For the first year, Anson and his company did small repair jobs.

Tired of doing remodels, Anson approached Jim Reed, a local real estate agent, and told him he wanted to build a house.

“It is all because of Jim that I'm doing this today,” Anson said. “He gave me financing. He gave me a floor plan. He gave me a lot. He was somebody who gave me a hand up.”

Helping Velasco get started in the building business was Anson's way to give another person a hand up.

“He (Velasco) started his company when he was 18 years old, so he likes to brag that he beat me a little bit,” Anson said. “Not everybody can be a builder, but Angel had the skills, and what I'm doing for him is giving him a hand up.”

Along with his work with Habitat, Anson has been a leader in the building renaissance in downtown Grand Island, such as his work at the old Masonic Temple, which now houses two businesses with apartments being constructed on the upper floors. He and his wife own the Chocolate Bar in a downtown building Anson's company renovated.

Anson said building both amazes him and gives him a lot of pride.

“As carpentry goes, I love taking nothing, a raw piece of ground, and then seeing a giant structure there a few month later,” Anson said. “That is what I like about building. It is taking nothing and making something amazing.”

That's why Anson is “pretty proud” about his involvement in Habitat for Humanity, he said. He is helping to take nothing and make something amazing, new home for a family in need.

“I love the organization, and I love what I do,” he said. “It is a great cause, and I just love doing it.”

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