Miracle Workers

Conduct an unscientific poll and you’ll likely find that most folks will name Tuesday as the day when they get the most accomplished. Mondays seem to be when we’re mostly getting ourselves prepared for the grind of what’s ahead.  Wednesday? That’s hump day, when we’re starting to look toward the weekend and a couple of days’ leisure time. Thursday and Friday? Well, we all know about Thursday and Friday. But Tuesday, that’s the day we have nothing to distract us from tasks at hand. Tuesdays are made for getting things accomplished.

For the past 20 years, Tuesday has been the day that Bob Sanborn and a group of volunteers for Tulsa’s Habitat for Humanity have gathered to make miracles happen – 42 miracles, at last count.

“We arbitrarily picked Tuesday as the day to get together and work,” says Sanborn. “When we’d get out there we spent a lot of time finishing and fixing some of the stuff the Saturday crews had started. We ended up with the nickname The Tuesday Morning Miracle Workers, and it stuck. We just completed our 42nd house in December.”

The Tuesday Morning Miracle Workers were born when Sanborn, Bill Yeagle and the late Jay Brisco came together to build a choir room for the Christ United Methodist Church in 1993. After that project was complete, the three began volunteering for Habitat For Humanity.

 “They give generously and they work hard, maybe harder now that they are retired than they did when they were working,” says Jane Dunbar, director of development at Tulsa’s Habitat For Humanity. “These gentlemen are truly the example of service, kindness and volunteerism that our community needs to see. We cannot thank them enough for their work at Tulsa Habitat.”
 

"We ended up with the nickname The Tuesday Morning Miracle Workers, and it stuck."

The group of retirees recognized a need, and they were happy to volunteer their time, and often, their own money.  According to Sanborn, 29 or 30 of their projects were funded entirely by members of the group.

“There are 35 to 37 people on our crew, and our average age now is around 75,” the 81-year-old Sanborn says. “As we get older, we don’t get as much done as we used to. But we still meet almost every Tuesday and do what we can.
“We’re always looking to get some new blood into the group,” Sanborn adds.

During the winter months, the group turns their attention from outdoor construction to indoors, focusing on cabinet building for their projects.  

“It’s a great group of guys from all different denominations,” Sanborn says. “We’re just like a bunch of brothers. We’ll take coffee breaks and have some fellowship and spend time getting to know one another.”

Without a background in construction, Sanborn and the other volunteers turned to Howard Waugh, a longtime Tulsa homebuilder and former star fullback on The University of Tulsa football team. Waugh became the construction supervisor for the Tulsa Habitat for Humanity where he served until his death in 2009.  

“I had worked for an oil company, and there wasn’t a carpenter among us,” Sanborn recalls with a chuckle. “But Howard taught us the things we needed to know and we continued to learn. Howard was a great resource and an amazing man.”

It is easy for so many to complain about things we see in society without ever raising a hand to make a difference. But for Bob Sanborn and the Tuesday Morning Miracle Workers, it is just easier to get up and go to work.