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The ReStoration Corner

The Driver: A Journey of more than 100,000 miles for Habitat

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jan 17, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Guest blog by Don Gustafson
ReStore Staff


This story starts with an older man looking for work following a layoff; a search that took 25 months. The ad that was answered was for a truck driving job, titled Donations Receiving Assistant.  The older man broke all of the conventions of job applications by not submitting a cover letter, and by sending a five page resume (three pages longer than the accepted norm).  I’m that older man.

Don_Gustafson_ReStore_Driver.jpgThe interview went well, and I was hired.  That was roughly five years ago.  I’ve been called a Donations Receiving Assistant, and Donations Ambassador, but I call myself the ReStore Driver.  During the intervening years from my hiring to now, I have logged more than 100,000 miles for the ReStore, and operated in all types of weather.  The temperature has ranged from -25 to 105 degrees during my tenure, and I’ve endured a lot wind, rain, and snow.

At first, the routes were scheduled following a system of the first request in, being the first served. Under that system, daily routes were widely spaced, with some exceeding 200 miles.  The scheduling software has been changed, and the person writing my schedules has changed twice since I’ve been driving; the routes make much more sense now.  

The ReStore team has come a long way from one manager, two associates, and me, and grown to include additional management positions, and several full, or part-time associates operatingtwo stores.  The donations portion of the team has come a fair distance as well, since the time it was just me driving a route the Store Manager had set.

Today, donations is a team within the larger group of ReStore staff, with a manager, a donation pick-up scheduler, myself, and a second driver (I guess that makes me the senior driver).  Everything about my job has evolved, and even with all of the changes to the team at the ReStore, the equipment, and the scheduling systems, this job remains the most interesting position I have held in my 50+ years of work experience.  I give my customers back the space in their garages, while telling them about the work we do at the ReStore to support Habitat for Humanity's mission.  I am part of a team (more like a family), even though I usually work alone for most of every day.  And, soon, I will begin the countdown to my retirement. And I know, unlike other people counting down the days until retirement,  I will still enjoy showing up for work each  and every day, until my final work day comes.

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Shop, Donate, Volunteer at ReStore

The ReStore is looking for a few volunteersto assist our truck drivers with donation pick-ups in the metro area. To express interest in becoming a regular ReStore Donations Pick-Up Assistant, please fill out the form on this page.