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100-year-old Habitat for Humanity volunteer shares key to service

Don Martinson says started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity because he says he supports the work ethic and the mission.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 5:11 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Work brings joy to Don Martinson.

“I never really retired,” he laughs.

This former math and science teacher retired in 1985. Now, the 100-year-old is focused on volunteering.

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“My best contribution to society, I think, is in teaching. I taught at the high school level. I like working with the kids,” he says.

For more than 30 years, Martinson has been using his love of woodworking to serve Wichita’s Habitat for Humanity. He enjoys making miniature chairs and tables to be sold at auction, but his signature is in the rosettes that top the corners of the doors. He makes 30 to 50 for each Habitat Home, totaling close to a thousand a year.

“Don Martinson is a godsend to the work that we do. Don is an inspiration. I can’t say any more than that,” said Danielle Johnson, Executive Director for Wichita Habitat for Humanity. “When we look at the importance of servant leadership, Don very much embodies that. Volunteers bless the work that we do.”

Martinson also believes in Habitat’s mission.

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“I like the theme or the fact that this is not given to people. They have to work for it,” said Martinson.

It’s that work ethic that he says has kept him going for 100 years.

“First, you better start with heredity. Then, you need to maintain a normal weight. Don’t get overweight, you need to keep quite active.”

Wichita Habitat for Humanity will have some of Martinson’s pieces up for auction at their annual Raise the Roof fundraiser. You can bid on some of his miniature items right now by clicking here.

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