It's not an exaggeration to say that home builders are extraordinarily generous and caring people. In just the past five years, the housing industry has donated more than $12 million to help people rebuild their homes and their lives following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and the deadly hurricanes of 2005.

In addition to donating millions to assist the victims of such disasters, NAHB members and associations throughout the nation participate in a wide range of public service projects on an ongoing basis, helping people in need and giving back to their communities. They donate not just money and materials, but their skills, their effort, and—most important—their time.

FIVE DAYS, 440 HOUSES An outstanding example of such selfless work occurred June 5–9, when more than 1,000 members of the home building industry joined forces to build 440 houses in 130 communities across the country during Habitat for Humanity's Home Builders Blitz 2006.

Never before have so many Habitat homes been built so quickly, according to Kevin Campbell, director of the national Home Builders Blitz program. Partnering with professional home builders allowed Habitat affiliates to increase the number of homes they constructed, while home builders helped their communities by doing what they do best.

The Home Builders Blitz was the largest Habitat for Humanity project of its kind in the country and gave hundreds of low-income families the opportunity to own a home. Habitat affiliates provided the land and worked alongside professional builders, their subcontractors, and other volunteers representing HBAs from across the country to complete the homes in just one week.

CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE The lion's share of the credit for the overwhelming success of the 2006 Home Builders Blitz program goes to NAHB member Tom Gipson. Tom, who is a member of the NAHB's board of directors and president of Thomas Gipson Homes in Raleigh, N.C., spearheaded the effort to involve members and local builder associations in the nationwide event.

Tom is no newcomer to Habitat projects. He first got involved in the 1980s, and in 2002 he organized an effort to build 12 houses in a week's time in Raleigh. The following year, a similar build produced 24 new homes. Then Tom approached Habitat for Humanity with the goal of making its Home Builders Blitz a national event. Ultimately, thanks to his efforts and the efforts of builders and associations across the country, the 2006 Home Builders Blitz became the largest blitz event in Habitat's 30-year history.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tom and all of the other members and associations that participated in the 2006 Home Builders Blitz. I also want to thank the builders and associations across the nation that work so hard on a vast range of public service projects to help people in their communities. You make me very proud to be a home builder, and especially proud to be president of the National Association of Home Builders. Keep up the good work.

President, NAHB Washington, D.C.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.