Sep 16

Habitat For Humanity Build Gets Off To Quick Start

By caseyholdahl
When you're playing for a Nate McMillan team, you better come ready to compete from the opening tip. He's not a man who suffers turnovers or mistakes, and if he thinks one of his players isn't up to the task on any given night, he won't hesitate to make a change, and quickly. He doesn't care about your reputation, how much money you make or how many years you've been in the league. If you're not able to fill your assigned role, you're getting the hook.

But on Thursday, it was McMillan who was on the receiving end of an early substitution at the Habitat For Humanity build in the Rockwood neighborhood in Gresham. Though he had prior experience working construction, McMillan's performance on the table saw compound miter saw was deemed unacceptable by the professional carpenters on the job site, so they sent Coach to the proverbial bench.

"They took me off the saw," said McMillan. "I was cutting. They told me how to cut this board, I didn't do it right, so I was removed and given a hammer and nails."

Being a coach himself, McMillan harbored no ill will for the substitution. He might have done the same thing were he in the foreman's shoes.

"You've got to sub, and that's what they did," said McMillan. "It was quick too."

Luckily, there were plenty of options on the "bench" capable of taking McMillan's place with over 150 volunteers from the Trail Blazers, Wells Fargo and Habitat For Humanity in attendance for the largest one-day build in Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East's 30-year history, dubbed the "Home Team Challenge." The project, which will eventually result in eight new homes being built for local families in need of stable and affordable housing, is scheduled to be completed sometime later in the year. The work of the volunteers, which included framing the first floor outside walls and building a fence along the back of the lot, got the build off to a fast start.

But more will need to be done in order for Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East's to succeed in their mission to "create successful home ownership by partnering hardworking families in need with the community to build healthy, affordable homes". And there's a role you can play even if you are not able to volunteer for an upcoming build. Log on to Facebook and visit the Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East page. The Trail Blazers will donate $1, up to $5,000, for every "like" the page receives. And every week, Habitat for Humanity will pick a fan who has "liked" their page to win autographed Trail Blazers prizes. So with a few mouse click you can basically donate a dollar to a good cause and give yourself a chance to win some cool swag. That's win-win.


  1. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the build team yesterday, and it was truly an amazing experience. Everyone involved with the Trail Blazers, Wells Fargo and Habitat for Humanity was extremely kind, helpful and appreciative. I highly recommend everyone should volunteer or donate to Habitat for Humanity if possible.


    Casey, I believe coach Nate was demoted from using the "compound miter saw" not a "table saw" as you stated in your article.

    by James Gable on 9/17/2011 11:25 AM
  2. You are right James. I'll make the change. And huge thanks for joining us on the build.

    by caseyholdahl on 9/19/2011 8:42 AM
  3. Giving back is good for the community and it makes you feel good too.

    by mbmurr1 on 9/22/2011 7:27 AM
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