‘ELE’ELE — When Seth Kujat drove the last nail in around 2 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, it marked the 43rd state in which he had completed roofs in an extraordinary display of volunteerism.
“Only seven more states to go,” Kujat beamed.
A resident of Ohio, Kujat explained that he started doing roofs for people who needed houses back in May, with the goal of doing “50 roofs in 52 weeks.”
Kujat estimated that it was a house almost every five days. But, beyond roofing just 50 homes, Kujat’s goal was to do a home in each of the 50 states.
“I had a roofing company for five years,” Kujat said. “But, when I got out of college, I decided I didn’t want to do roofs for money anymore.”
Undecided about what he was going to do, Kujat said the answer came to him while driving home from church one Sunday.
The preliminary plans appeared in his mind, along with the Habitat for Humanity name which he says has operations in each of the 50 states and is instrumental in helping people get homes.
Because his idea came on the Sabbath, Kujat labeled his project “Leap of Faith,” a service project designed to help spread motivation and inspiration across the country while helping people realize their dreams of owning their own homes.
Armed with his degree in interpersonal communication and the skills in carpentry and roofing he acquired, Kujat drove his van throughout the country, stopping to install roofs on Habitat for Humanity projects in each of the states he visited.
Hawai’i is his only stop without his trusty van, which he plans to drive to the other seven states he’s planning on visiting and volunteering to roof Habitat for Humanity homes.
While in Baton Rouge, La., Kujat got the name and phone number of Bob McNamara, the construction superintendent for the Habitat for Humanity Kaua’i Chapter.
Kujat’s crusade to serve others in need continued, while he maintained a dialog with McNamara to set up a timetable for the Kaua’i stop in Hawai’i.
“This is the only place he couldn’t drive his van to,” McNamara laughed as they relished the satisfaction that came from the completion of Kujat’s latest roof.
“He’s logged at least 40,000 miles on the van that he drives to each of the sites,” McNamara explained.
The van contains his equipment, clothes, and serves as his “Leap of Faith” office and, sometimes, even doubles as sleeping quarters.
Kujat’s crusade is helped along by solicitations and contributions he receives in the areas he works in, and he welcomes any contributions.
In many cases, Kujat said the projects were not quite ready for the roofs when he arrived, and in those instances, he simply rolled up his sleeves and started working on installing decking and doing the necessary preparatory work before the roofing.
Primarily, though, he said that, when he arrives, he installs the sheeting and the roof.
On Kaua’i, the project in ‘Ele’ele was almost ready for him, and with the help of Mc-Namara and some of the Habitat volunteers, the work was done in less than a day.
McNamara pointed out that some of the volunteers came out on their regular days off to get the project done on time.
That allowed Kujat some time to enjoy the island through McNamara’s hospitality before he leaves for his next roof in Charlotte, N.C.
Following that, his itinerary will take him to stops in North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alaska.
McNamara noted that the 125-unit project in ‘Ele’ele will be getting a boost starting next week when the first group of Collegiate Challenge students arrives on the island to help with the work.
He noted that, from the arrival of the first groups, there should be weekly arrivals of more groups scheduled through the end of March.
For information on volunteering, people may contact the Habitat for Humanity office in Hanapepe at 335-0296.
To get more information, or to contribute to Kujat’s crusade, people may visit his Web site, www.leapoffaithroofing.com.
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.