Spending long days and weeks at a time in the hospital proved to be a difficult task for Greg Lamphere. As a child growing up with an undiagnosed disease that gave him excruciatingly painful stomach aches, he frequented the doctor’s office. It wasn’t until he was 22-years-old that he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Simple tasks proved difficult due to frequent relapses and struggles with his disease. His excellent work ethic helped him provide for his family in his job at a structural seal inspector and before that a maintenance mechanic, but eventually the stress that Crohn’s put on his body was too high, putting him out of work for more than 20 years.
While Greg’s wife, Kathy, worked with special needs children to support him and their twins, Greg constantly dealt with the frustration of feeling that he needed to do something to help stabilize his family’s life and provide a home for them. His family had big dreams and he felt guilty not being able to work and fulfill their dreams.
When Greg’s condition improved, he entered the Washington Vocational Services program, where they would match him with places to volunteer so that he could improve his work skills and his self-confidence. After he spent some time volunteering with the food bank, WVS helped him find Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County.
In February 2016, Greg started volunteering with Habitat Snohomish in the Lynnwood Habitat Store. He started out as an assistant and moved into a full-on donations receiving volunteer position as well as working on the floor to help customers. Greg felt so much happier about becoming productive.
“Habitat has been really uplifting for me and it’s really gotten me back on track and it improved how I feel about myself,” Greg said.
Everyone on the management team has had nothing but great things to say about Greg. Though he came to the organization a little shy and shaky, not sure of the type of work he was capable of, he became a very important asset to the team. He’s reliable and dependable and his dedication and selflessness are what make him so valuable, Lynnwood Store Manager Anita Sims said.
“When he first came, he was really quiet and now he’s feeling a part of the team and when someone’s feeling part of the team, they excel and that’s what Greg’s doing,” Anita said. “He’s proud of what he does and he should be.”
Currently, Greg is searching for a place to work so he can provide for his family again. He’s hopeful about the improvement of his health and he knows he can handle a job. Once he lands a job, he plans to continue volunteering at Habitat and stay involved with the organization.
“Habitat gave me my confidence back, and my drive,” Greg said. “I come to work and feel appreciated every time I’m here; the people, staff and volunteers, are the reason I keep volunteering.”