In order to make the homes they build for deserving, hard-working families affordable, Nevada County Habitat for Humanity relies on a solid core of construction volunteers.

A mainstay in the NCHFH crew is C.J. Cavet. Originally from France, C.J. comes from a long line of cabinet makers. She moved with her mother to the United States when she was young, but didn’t lose her affinity for a saw and hammer, becoming a carpenter. “I have sawdust in my blood.”

During the course of her career she was a general contractor, and then a facilities manager for Varion and Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley.

“At one time I would have qualified to be a Habitat homeowner,” she says. “I bought a house similar to those we’re building at Heritage Oaks and spent several years rehabilitating it. That was my launching pad. I told myself that if I ever made good I wanted to work for Habitat.”

C.J. did make good. She volunteered for a time in the Bay Area, and then, after moving to Nevada County, has become a vital leader for the Habitat construction crew here.

One of the things she really enjoys is working with Habitat homeowners and volunteers. “I like teaching people. I enjoy passing along what I know to others.”

“C.J. is like a super-volunteer,” says Lorraine Larson, NCHFH Executive Director. “We are fortunate to have someone with her knowledge, skill and dedication. We love C.J.!”

When asked what connects her heart to the Habitat mission, without hesitation C.J. answered: “Jimmy Carter is my hero. I’d see Jimmy and Roslyn out pounding nails. I said, if they can do it, I can do it!”

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