For the Reporter
Capping a three-year effort, Delta Airlines employees on Tuesday, Sept. 11, kicked off construction of Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s final blitz-built home at a Pacific development dedicated to low-income military veterans and their families.
The home will be Delta’s third, full-home build in the nine-unit, veteran-focused, Megan’s Meadow project at 759 First Ave. E., Pacific, its sixth annual Habitat home in the Seattle area, and the company’s 262nd home built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity worldwide.
Delta volunteers – U.S. military veterans themselves – raised the first wall in a ceremony that welcomed company, civic and partnership leaders. State and local representatives spoke between an Auburn High School Junior ROTC flag-raising and words from the future homeowner, Army veteran Jean-Jacques Kayembe.
State Rep. Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way (District 30) and Pacific Mayor Leanne Guier were among those who attended the ceremony.
Over the following weeks, more than 400 volunteer Delta employees – from baggage handlers to flight attendants to Delta’s vice president – will roll up their sleeves to build the new home.
Kayembe was medically discharged after being injured on active duty. He served as an OB/GYN in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo before he, his wife, Albertine, and their six children immigrated to the U.S. to escape the violence. As a disabled person, securing work as a nursing assistant and medical interpreter was not easy for Kayembe, and finding affordable housing appropriate for his family size seemed “an impossible dream in our current situation,” until the family found an opportunity with Habitat for Humanity.
More than 1,800 Delta employees will build or renovate homes in four cities throughout the U.S. and China this year.