Ed Saulvester’s work with Habitat for Humanity

Ed Saulvester has been part of the Home Dedication program with Habitat for Humanity for many, many years, teaching each ‘soon-to-be’ homeowner about taking care of their landscape.  He also incorporated into his class the subject of how to care and the proper use of their garden equipment since many homeowners he had noticed were single moms who never had a yard to work with before.  This course is part of each family’s tutorial that is required for them to take before they can occupy their new homes.

Ed Saulvester looking at 1st phase of condos built in 2009.

He also attends each dedication ceremony for the honored family when they officially receive the keys to their finished house and awards them with the Southern Living Garden Book as a gift from the Gwinnett Master Gardener group.

Ed was honored in 2009 with an award representing the Master Gardeners of Gwinnett organization as a “Home Builder Sponsor”. The award is presently posted in the Extension office.  That was when he participated in the 100th Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity Home Dedication for the Haidari/Haqiqi family, pictured below.

Afghan family receives keys to their new condo.

This has been Ed’s very special Master Gardener project since he took the course back in 2000.  And, yes all of his volunteer hard work qualified him for the Lifetime Georgia Master Gardener honor.  So, he’s been doing this for well over 10 years!

Kathy Parent remembers back when Ed first started working with the Gwinnett Habitat group.  He was the coordinator for all of the outside landscaping for each home.  He arranged for the purchase or mainly donations of plant material and turf and whatever other items were needed for each individual home then.  Kathy remembers one home was a “Women’s Build House”, which was interesting to work on.  They could only have women and children volunteers helping out with the project and Kathy helped Ed work with the volunteer crew since he couldn’t be part of it that day when the landscaping was to go in.  They had lots of volunteers, but actually had to sneak a man in to help with the tiller equipment for the flowerbeds since no-one in the group could handle the machine!

All of the men were right next door working on another house at the time, so they had men available to help them for that particular job.  They looked for the one with the bigger muscles!  The job was completed by planting foundation shrubs, rolling out and laying sod and planting flowers to make the place look presentable for their soon to be dedication.  The single mom whose house they worked on was very grateful for how the landscape turned out that day.  It made the team feel really good, and that’s what it’s all about.  No wonder Ed enjoys working on this project!  Thanks Ed.

Ed Saulvester presenting new family with gardening book.

Article and photos provided by Kathy Parent.