Building a Greater Los Angeles Blog

Patrick Diaz on 9/11/11 in Long Beach

Ten years ago, Patrick Diaz watched from Jersey City, NJ as the aftermath of 9/11 unfolded. Fluffy flakes of paper and insulation floated across the Hudson and a big, black ominous cloud hovered over everyone standing, shocked, in the streets.

Like so many people, Patrick knew someone who died in the Towers – an elementary school classmate, Tonyell McDay. The terrorist attacks provoked a whole gamut of emotions in Patrick and he knew that he needed a way to cope, so he began volunteering. He began by volunteering locally in Jersey City, which eventually led to working for the AmeriCorps branch at New Jersey City University for two years from 2004-2006, under Gary Patnosh.
In March 2010, he traveled down to New Orleans to build with Habitat for Humanity for three days. He caught what we like to call “Habititis” and planned a cross-country trip to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Minneapolis, Seattle and ours here in Los Angeles.  
After that trip, what began as a coping mechanism turned into so much more. Patrick set a goal to volunteer on 100 Habitat for Humanity build sites across the country and abroad. Patrick completed a 2ndcross-country Habitat for Humanity tour, which included stops in New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the East Bay.
On the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, Patrick built with us in Long Beach. He is in the midst of his 3rd cross-country trip. Next, he will travel to Portland to build at two more sites and then down to San Francisco for a month of building. To date, he has worked at 18 sites across the U.S., including six in L.A. By the end of this trip, he hopes to have 25 build sites under his belt and one quarter of his goal complete. 
Back at home in Jersey City, he volunteers with New York Cares and has made shorter trips to Habitat for Humanity build sites in cities such as Baltimore.
While Patrick is working toward his lofty goal of helping to build 100 Habitat for Humanity homes, he hasn’t forgotten his other lifelong goal to be a Disney Imagineer. We have a feeling that there are a lot of good things in store for Patrick on his remarkable journey and we thank him for helping us to build hope, lives and communities.

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About Erin Rank
Erin Rank is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity L.A. Please see more of her posts on this blog as well as google+.

1 Comment for this entry

Rolet Villanueva
September 27th, 2011 on 6:04 pm

What you're doing Patrick, is very remarkable. I hope that someday I can also have the energy, enthusiasm and spirit to do the same thing…