The 66 volunteers who participated in the 12th Delta Global Build with Habitat for Humanity International returned home this week after helping to build six homes in the Chicxulub neighborhood of Mérida, Mexico.
The 2016 Delta Global Build volunteers included 48 Delta employees and retirees, representing 20 stations in five countries, two SkyMiles customers and 16 employees from Delta’s alliance partner Aeroméxico.
“We left Mexico bringing more home than we could ever leave behind. The memories and compassion will be with me forever,” said James Breaugh, Chief Pilot – Detroit. “There is no greater privilege in my life than to be a part of a team – a team that works together, sweats together and seeks nothing more than to make the world a better place.”
For the sixth consecutive year, Delta volunteers were also joined by a SkyMiles customer who bid for the opportunity to participate through Delta’s SkyMiles Experiences online auction. Diamond Medallion member Jarrett Goetz won the experience with a bid of 311,000 miles, and was joined by his guest Renee Ricciardi.
The joint Delta and Aeroméxico team worked alongside future Habitat homeowners in Chicxulub to build the walls of six houses. Volunteers helped with the early stages of the house construction, including building the foundation, bathroom, kitchen facilities and two rooms. Moving forward, Habitat for Humanity Mexico will provide training and guidance to the families so that they can complete their new home with help from local volunteers, architects and engineers.
“Back in 1981, I lived down in Merida for a summer with two different Mexican families, and I was trying to learn Spanish,” said Lisabeth Kay, Reservations Sales – Atlanta. “When the opportunity came up to do this build 35 years later, I thought it would be very appropriate as a way to say thank you because they never asked for anything from me when I lived here. I think Delta has provided me the ability to reconnect with the people again – and that was a part of what I really wanted to do – reconnect with something that I loved a long time ago.”
The build highlighted two milestones for Delta – the 10th anniversary of employees participating in Delta Global Builds, the first taking place in 2006 in South Africa, and the 20th anniversary of Chairman’s Club, the airline's most prestigious honor, in November. In celebration of both anniversaries, the Delta employees who participated in the build were all Chairman’s Club honorees.
Delta employees have now helped build or rehab 227 Habitat homes in 12 countries around the world. Employees have previously participated in Delta Global Builds in Argentina, Chile, China, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand.