Dedicated ‘Habitat’ volunteer has helped for decades

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HOLLAND, Mich.,-- Like a lot of people, Carl Immink looks forward to the end of the week, but "TGIF" has a different meaning for the 90-year-old.

Since the 90's, he's been volunteering at the Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity ReStore almost every week.

"He kind of does a little bit of everything - jack-of-all-trades. He tests the appliances for us, cleans them up, moves them on and off the sales floor," explained Travis Steinhoff, the Volunteer Coordinator for Habitat with Humanity. "He typically puts in an average of 250-300 hours a year... Do the math, that's a lot of hours."

While Immink seems to have found a niche at the ReStore, it's not his first run with Habitat for Humanity. He said he spent about 30-40 years building houses with the organization first. He believes he helped work on anywhere from 50-100 houses during that time.

"Framing, shingling, repair work", he explained."Whatever needed to be done, we'd tackle it."

Immink recalls traveling to Alabama to help with Habitat after a few hurricanes. He's also spent time deconstructing houses, as needed.

"They're not all glory jobs, but they have to be done," Immink said. "The best part of volunteering is the people you work with."

At the ReStore, Immink typically works away from the crowds, tinkering away in the back room on his latest project. Each item that he's able to salvage for the sales floor, is one item less that will be sent to a landfill.

"He likes to putter, put stuff together and make something out of it. He gets satisfaction when he cleans up a sink and someone can use it again," said his wife Janet Immink."You don't have to retire and sit in a rocking chair and watch TV... He loves it, keeps him going."

Indeed, Immink has been very active in his retirement. Along with volunteering six to seven hours each Friday, he also regularly walks two miles each morning with his wife.

He said he plans to keep doing the same thing until he's 100, if he's able.

"Pay is good, double pay on Fridays, so that's working out good," he joked. "I just feel like I'm worth something. If I do nothing, I'm worthless... I said when I turned 90, that my next target was 10 more. So, if the Lord's with me, I'll do the same thing at 100."

As the Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Immink is receiving a $300 dollar prize.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Makaila Smith, the February Pay it Forward Person of the Month.

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