Williamsburg ReStore Volunteer Logs 10,000 Hours and Counting

For the last decade, Dave Heidel has volunteered at the Williamsburg ReStore, exceeding 10,000 hours, approximate to 1.14 years.

Wow, you might say?

“It’s just what I do,” Heidel says with a shrug in talking about a schedule he’s maintained since moving to Williamsburg from Hudson Valley, New York, after retiring.

The ReStore that benefits Habitat for Humanity Peninsula and Greater Williamsburg hadn’t opened at Colony Square at that time, but Director Steve Russell posted an advertisement in the newspaper requesting volunteers. When Dave started on Feb 10, 2012, he immediately went to work renovating and preparing the space that was previously a grocery store.

He repaired holes in the tile floor, assisted with the lighting, helped construct shelving for displays and an office at the front of the store, and worked the trucks, loading up the new space with merchandise. He and the other volunteers were part of an April grand opening, and “at least of dozen of those volunteers are still here today,” Dave says. “Early on, we were still small enough that all of us did all of the jobs that needed to be done.

The ReStore went through multiple evolutions in adding the adjoining spaces occupied by a drug store and coffee shop. Dave helped out by doing more hands-on construction work during those years and did more of the same to open and two years later, close, the ReStore’s Yorktown donation center. His experience as a homeowner and career as an experimental scientist for IBM Research make hands-on work appealing to him.

“I’ve always enjoyed doing things and building things and seeing if they work,” he says. “Habitat fits perfectly with my particular interests.”

Dave has held every volunteer position at the ReStore but spends most of his time these days repairing furniture, testing appliances and completing general maintenance around the store. He typically makes the 10-block trek to the ReStore three times a week and works six-hour shifts, though in his early years he’d often stay from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“There is nothing he can’t do, and he has been a mentor to so many of our staff and volunteers over the years,” Steve says.

Dave has twice won the Lifetime Achievement Presidential Volunteer Service Award, a national honor recognizing outstanding community service, in addition to earning theVirginia Volunteer of the Year award.

The passion Dave feels for the ReStore extends to the Habitat for Humanity mission that supports everyone in the world having a decent place to live. He’s gotten to know many of the families who have put in their sweat equity hours at the ReStore, and he’s attended some of the home dedication ceremonies. He and his wife, Phyllis, have purchased plenty of ReStore furniture over the years, including several end tables with marble tops.

“I really enjoy the idea of reusing and recycling things and not seeing them go to the dump,” he says. “That’s something I’m proud to be a part of at the ReStore.”

Dave doesn’t see anything changing about the volunteer work that’s become routine.

“I don’t see it stopping,” he says. “I enjoyed it 10 years ago and I still enjoy it today. It just fits really well into what I like to do and be a part of.”Interested in becoming a volunteer at the Williamsburg ReStore? Click here.


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