(Photo: Chuck Baldacchino volunteers on Sandra Palma’s home in Panama City, Florida, while working with the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders. Palma is fighting breast cancer while living in a home heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael a year and a half ago.)
Chuck Baldacchino is well-known to many in the affordable housing movement’s volunteer circles, including Fuller Center for Housing volunteers. That’s because he has spent his retirement years tirelessly helping build and repair homes. Since February, he has been doing that in Panama City, Florida, with the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders.
Unlike most volunteers who have come to Panama City to work with the Disaster ReBuilders, he has not taken advantage of the outstanding volunteer housing facilities the group has secured in the community. That’s because he is home. He is always home.
“Sorry, I don’t mean to be obtuse, but I’ve been doing this for 15 years — I live in a motor home,” Baldacchino says with a chuckle when asked where he is from. “I’m not from anywhere.”
He is a little less sure how long has it been since he has had his motor home parked in Panama City for this volunteer stint.
“How long has it been?” he shouted to a fellow volunteer. “Three weeks? Four weeks? I don’t know. Time flies when you’re having fun!”
That was two weeks ago. While the coronavirus has temporarily put a crimp in the flow of volunteer teams heading to work in Panama City, the motor home is still there. And Baldacchino is still working.
Chuck Baldacchino talks about why he spends his retirement volunteering (41 seconds):