“Dean can fix anything, from a pair of earrings to… well, just about anything!” says Kim Btiyk, eagerly describing her husband. Dean volunteers at Habitat for Humanity of Collier County’s Home Store, as a handy-man of sorts.
While shopping for gently-used furniture at the store some years back, Kim noticed a sign asking for volunteers. “I thought it would be good for him, and honestly, I wanted him out of the house for a couple of hours,” says Kim, as she describes why she signed her husband up as a volunteer.
What began as a whim became a newfound, fulltime passion for Dean. The son of an electrician, Dean was inspired at an early age to become an engineer. Now retired, he savors opportunities to use his hands for projects in his workshop—his converted garage that contains every tool imaginable.
Dean goes into the store at least once a week, bringing home small projects. He works on anything from knick-knacks to antique furnishings in need of major repair. “I enjoy dressing up for the job. I like spending time with the people down there, the volunteers,” says Dean. “I love giving back, and this is the best way I know how.”
Volunteer Helps to Found the First ReStore in Collier County
When Mara Foley, Director of Store Operations, noticed Dean’s craftsmanship, she, like Dean’s wife, enlisted him in a project. Showing off his latest project in his workshop, Dean says, “This is my first set. They will hold kitchen sinks and fans, but I’m going to build 5 more.” He’s crafting various display shelves for Collier County’s new Habitat ReStore, a Home Improvement Discount Center celebrating its grand opening December 3, 2015.
“Dean truly appreciates the beauty and potential in plain and ordinary things,” says Mara, “it’s part of what makes him so great at his job.”
When asked about other hobbies or activities Dean does in his spare time, the only thing he can think of is fishing. “If I’m not fishing,” says Dean, “you’ll find me volunteering at Habitat for Humanity.”