“What a great guy!” That seems to be the refrain when asked to describe Gerald Quintana, one of Habitat for Humanity Taos' superstar volunteers. Widowed in 1999, Gerald raised three boys on his own and was a well-known Taos pharmacist for thirty-five years. Upon retirement, he threw himself into volunteering. He traveled with the Sierra Club and One World-One Heart Foundation (an organization resembling Doctors Without Borders,) doing environmental and medical work. Gerald visited Nepal twice to help people after the earthquake, but Habitat for Humanity Taos has been his main focus.
Gerald has worked with Habitat for over seven years, helping to build five homes. Beginning with our 29th home, he became our most regular volunteer, putting in over 500 hours and showing up for nearly every building opportunity. That 29th home was built for Adriana Mares, a former co-worker of Gerald’s and a woman he thought of as an adopted daughter. He witnessed Adriana’s struggle finding adequate, affordable housing for herself and her two kids she was raising alone, and he was thrilled when she applied to become a Habitat Home-buying Partner. After her home was completed, Habitat feared that Gerald might spend less time with the organization. Thankfully, Gerald has remained a vital part of the Habitat community, giving at least 500 hours on each home built since.
Gerald is a blessing in myriad ways. Taos is a small community with a tourist-based economy, and many residents must work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This makes it difficult to cultivate regular, local volunteers, but Gerald is always there and willing to help out. Just as importantly, he takes on an important leadership role with Habitat’s visiting work groups that make up the majority of our volunteer base. Gerald leads and guides the volunteers as they learn the basics of building, helping them with tasks and answering their questions. Everyone at Habitat, including other volunteers, love his eternal smile, hearing stories from his travels – including his experiences running the Boston Marathon – but also, all are grateful for his assistance and gentle advice. Habitat for Humanity Taos is fortunate to have such a kind, talented, big-hearted man as part of our community.
Thank you, Gerald, for all you do!