Featured Faithful: Tom Geary
When Tom retired from the military and moved to Pierce County, the main thing he was looking for in a church home was a connection to Habitat for Humanity. He found that in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church by the Narrows.
At the time, St. Mark’s was involved with Tacoma Habitat’s Building on Faith program. Tom soon became their point of contact and got involved in a Blitz Build, where five homes all sponsored by churches were built in a single week.
Tom’s second day on the 2001 Blitz Build was September 11. “It was a blessing to be able to work on a Habitat site that day.”
By 2002, Tom was absorbed into Tacoma Habitat’s “Weekday Regulars” crew and joined the Board of Directors, where he served for six years including one term as Board President. Continuously looking for ways to expand his Habitat involvement, Tom applied to serve on a subcommittee of Habitat for Humanity International’s US Council, where he learned about the Global Village program and Habitat Romania.
“I had lived in Romania and knew the language,” says Tom. When Habitat Romania started doing Blitz Builds in 2007, the year they joined the European Union, Tom’s involvement there took off.
“I got hooked on Blitz Builds. There would be 600 or 700 people on a site. The atmosphere was electric.” Habitat Romania’s Blitz Builds, which are called “Big Builds,” are held annually the first week of October to coincide with World Habitat Day. Tom went every year to Romania until the Global Village program was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Tom has continued to stay involved with Habitat locally as well, serving as St. Mark’s point of contact until 2021. He’s still a member at St. Mark’s and has been integral in keeping the church one of Tacoma Habitat’s most engaged congregations.
Though Tom hasn’t been on the construction site much the last couple of years, he still volunteers, currently helping out two afternoons a week at the front desk of our administrative office. “Habitat was something I wanted to do when I retired,” says Tom. He has definitely achieved that.