From international builds in Costa Rica, Romania and numerous U.S. cities, to volunteering weekly at our Helensview build site, Gary Jergensen has traveled near and far in the name of Habitat for Humanity. Through Global Village trips, Gary and his wife are able to experience different cultures through the eyes and hands of the locals. It was in Romania where Gary met a woman who was moved to tears at the fact that volunteers would travel so far to help out in her country. No matter where a person lives, Gary believes “affordable housing for working people is a necessity.”

After becoming a member of Thrivent Financial, Gary decided to become involved with Habitat as well. Thrivent, a not-for-profit, financial services member organization and Habitat’s largest private contributor nationally, offers member discounts on Global Village trips. Having volunteered with different Habitat affiliates across the globe, Gary keeps coming back to Portland’s Habitat affiliate for its “open, safe, structured and friendly work environment that makes for a very enjoyable day.” An easy going and friendly person, Gary enjoys the community he found as a volunteer, where all you need is “a good attitude.” He also likes to work hard, joking that while he may favor framing houses, he “doesn’t mind digging.”

After getting his chemical engineering degree from the University of Washington, Gary worked as an engineer in the paper industry for 40 years. He and his wife currently live in Camas, Washington, where they raised three sons and are active members of the Grace Foursquare church. A natural adventurer (Gary once ate escamole, or ant eggs, in Mexico), Gary hopes to continue traveling and someday lead his own international build. In the meantime, he’ll use his free time to enjoy his favorite hobby—fishing.