Ralph Habben has some time on his hands, but he doesn’t waste it.

Ralph Habben has some time on his hands, but he doesn’t waste it. Not Ralph. A former insurance man, Habben lost his job in 2006 – but he didn’t lose his focus. Volunteering several hours each week for the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, Habben has become one of the many people the chamber has come to depend on. Aside from general help, Habben helps chamber members understand and utilize its new website.
In June, he’ll graduate with the chamber’s Leadership class. He’s looking forward to helping out in the future in any way he can.

When did you first start volunteering?
I had a career in the insurance business for 37 years – two different companies. When I got let go, I worked for Jeff Quibell at his company, and I was active with chamber of commerces in Kansas City, Blue Springs and Independence. Then I became a connector with the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, and when I left Quibell’s company, I became more and more active at the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce. I dropped out of the Kansas City and Independence organizations. I mean, Blue Springs is my home, and I’m very happy to see that it’s going in the right direction. Lara (Vermillion) has taken it in the direction it needed to go.

What was the last volunteer project you worked on?
The Leadership Class volunteering their time at St. Mary’s Hospital. It was the first time the class did a project, and I was proud to help. I discovered what great resources Home Depot had, not just with supplies but also I discovered that they have a volunteer base there that helped us out tremendously. Employees volunteered their time, what people they could, and their expertise to make sure the project was completed. We power washed patios, moved planters, placed furniture, and other things.

In the situation you’re in (unemployed), how does volunteering benefit you?
There’s no way I’m going to sit home and watch television. And I’m thinking that sooner or later I’ll meet someone who needs some of the services I provide. Maybe I’ll get paid. But seriously, volunteering is a way to give back. I didn’t realize how much my community gave to me until I started giving back.

How long do you want to continue to volunteer?
My father is 90 years old and he still volunteers. It keeps you young and involved. I’ll do it until I can’t walk anymore.

What others say about Habben:
“He was one of the ones that put in a lot of effort in making calls (regarding the St. Mary’s Hospital project). He was the one who established the relationship with Home Depot, which resulted in a great working relationship for the project. They also then joined the chamber. Ralph also helps the chamber on a regular basis as a connector. He has recruited 3.5 new members to the chamber. He is currently in the process of calling existing members to make sure they understand how to use their chamber member web page on the website. He has also helped with sponsors for the Fest and annual banquet and with the Membership Appreciation in June.”

– Lara Vermillion,
executive director of the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce

About Habben
Blue Springs
Age: 63
In his off time:  “My mother told me I’m a jack-of-all-trades but a master at none. I like a lot of things, like driving. Love to drive. I like fishing, spectator sports, cooking, a lot of things.”