Katy Girard didn’t think twice when asked if she could step up and help a Habitat homebuyer who’d suffered a devastating stroke soon after qualifying for our program.

“It was a no-brainer,” Katy said.

Chinh Vo had been excited to start hammering away on his home, but would have to spend months focused full-time on healing, giving his brain time to rewire itself, and learning to walk again. Katy and a handful of other volunteers went above and beyond and logged more than 250 hours at our Sammamish Cottage community, fulfilling Chinh’s sweat equity requirement.

“What we were able to do as a team to take this off his plate, we were all extremely happy to do,” Katy reflected.

In all, Katy has volunteered more than 450 hours – first getting involved with Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County a year and a half ago.

“I will always remember my first day,” Katy said. “I felt like I was home. I felt like I belonged. I love building. I love helping. It’s so rewarding. It’s a recipe for happiness.”

A native of Quebec, Katy is a mother of four who’s studied architecture and interior design. She loves volunteering with Habitat so much, she worked it into a vacation to Hawaii’s Big Island, where she helped paint and insulate a home. This November, she’s taking a 12-day Habitat trip to Nepal, where she’ll help repair homes ravaged by the 2015 earthquake.

When she’s not volunteering with us, Katy manages a rental property and is working to parlay the experience she’s gained at Habitat builds into a career in construction. This summer, she made it into the Northwest Carpenter’s Institute of Washington’s apprenticeship program and recently was hired by the construction firm ISEC.

“People always thank me for my service to Habitat, while I feel like I get so much out of this experience,” Katy says. “There are no words for how grateful I am to do this.”