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Couple give to Goodfellows in honor of Habitat for Humanity volunteers

Couple give to Goodfellows in honor of Habitat for Humanity volunteers

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Scattered across Omaha are more than 100 families who have homes thanks to the work of Melvin “Skip” Decker and his fellow volunteers at Habitat for Humanity.

Decker began volunteering at Habitat about 30 years ago through a church function. The organization became a regular part of his weekly schedule after he retired in 1995 from his job as shop foreman at Standard Iron Works, a company that fabricates steel beams.

During the holidays, Decker and his wife, Lois, make an annual contribution to Goodfellows in honor of his Tuesday/Wednesday crewmates at Habitat.

Skip Decker’s fellow volunteers came from all walks of life, he said, including doctors, teachers and Air Force meteorologists. At age 88, family obligations have kept Decker from the Habitat job site, but donations to Goodfellows and Habitat are a way to show support, he said.

Lois Decker taught at Hartman Elementary School, and, like her husband, retired in 1995.

Skip and Lois Decker

Skip and Lois Decker give to Goodfellows in honor of Skip Decker’s fellow volunteers at Habitat for Humanity.

Goodfellows is The World-Herald’s charitable organization, and it provides one-time financial aid to people in crisis.

The aid helps pay a recipient’s overdue bills, going directly to the entities owed money, such as landlords or local utilities. Goodfellows partners with United Way of the Midlands for distribution of the aid.

Decker said he enjoyed volunteering at Habitat because of the camaraderie, the challenge and the end result: “The people who moved into the houses, the smiles on their faces, the appreciation to have a nice place to live.”

The neighbors of Habitat homes also made the work rewarding, he said, bringing treats and sometimes fixing meals to thank the volunteers.

Mona McGregor, the Habitat site supervisor for the Tuesday-Wednesday crews, said the Tuesday shift is celebrating its 35th year, and Decker has volunteered most of that time.

“Skip is amazing, he works so hard and has such a good personality. He’s awesome,” she said, adding that the entire crew is “amazing.”

“These people know what they are doing, they are very skilled, and they’ve been doing it a long time,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”


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Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Email:

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