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Halifax Heroes: Man building a better community one house at a time

HALIFAX - Andrey Kolomyytsev is a busy man.

Andrey Kolomyytsev poses for a photo outside a Habitat for Humanity home in East Preston.

When he isn’t sailing the seas for his job involving marine mammal observation, the Halifax resident spends many of his free hours volunteering. When asked how many volunteer hours he has logged in the past five years, he just grins and says “quite a bit.”

“When I work I go for five weeks at a time and when I come back I have five weeks of my own time,” he explained. “That gives me lots of time to help out by doing this and that and the other.”

Kolomyytsev started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2011 after hearing about a build taking place in the Spryfield area. He and a friend worked together on that first house, and Kolomyytsev was hooked.

“What I like most about it is giving back to the community in a way where your results are visible by the end of the day,” he said. “I think the first time I built something and I looked back at the end of the day and I saw a wall up I just realized, ‘This is great. This is the fruit of my labour for the day. This is amazing.’”

Since that first build, Kolomyytsev has helped Habitat construct six other houses in the Halifax region working as a crew leader. Crew leaders need to possess construction and trade skills combined with an ability to teach while standing back to let others do the work.

Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia spokesperson Deborah Page said crew leaders are essential to the success of their program, which mobilizes volunteers and community partners to build affordable housing.

“We absolutely need some qualified volunteers because the whole experience of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity is that you don’t need any experience and we’ll teach you and tell you what you need to do,” Page said.

“It’s a fairly significant contribution and commitment because we need people for entire days during the week when we have people in on our crew.”

Kolomyytsev said he doesn’t think he’s doing anything extraordinary. In addition to spending many of his free daytime hours with Habitat for Humanity, he has volunteered for the past two years with Halifax Regional Search and Rescue.

“A lot of my time goes to search and rescue, but it’s a lot of standby time so during the daytime I’m free and so I work with Habitat. I’m not quite busy,” he laughed.

Page said dedicated volunteers like Kolomyytsev are a blessing to non-profit organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

“We’re really very lucky to have people like Andrey who like to come in and who are available to come in to help us create a great experience for all of our volunteers,” she said.

A note from the editor

There are thousands of people like Andrey Kolomyytsev in our city giving back. Without them, our communities wouldn’t be what they are today.

Metro Haifax wants to start paying homage to these special people.

Starting today, the weekly feature Halifax Heroes will be played prominently online and in your Monday edition.

If you have someone who you feel deserves to be recognized, we ask you email myself at or Tweet at us using the hashtag #HalifaxHeroes.

We hope you enjoy reading Halifax Heroes, and feel inspired to maybe give back a little more of yourself, too. 

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