Former Oregon center Hroniss Grasu is already making a name for himself in Chicago.
The Bears rookie volunteered last week to help Habitat for Humanity in their quest to build 16 single family homes on one block of the West Pullman neighborhood.
“This is a great thing going on here and I’m just lucky and blessed to be here,” Grasu told DNAInfo Chicago on Friday afternoon.
Grasu replaced his football helmet with a construction hard hat for the day for the regional building effort called “Building On!” The goal is to have as many families as possible moved in before Thanksgiving, said Jennifer Parks, executive director of the Windy City Habitat for Humanity.
“Habitat’s mission is to create a world in which everyone has a place to live, so that’s globally," said Parks. "Here in Chicago we are squarely focused on making sure our families have a great place to live in a great neighborhood.”
Three homes are already up. Grasu and about 20 other volunteers rolled up their sleeves on house number four.
“My role is to try to help out as much as I can," said Grasu. "I’m not always a big help, but I try to do what I am told to do.”
Families have already been chosen for half the homes in the $3 million project. The land was donated by the city of Chicago and the families pay their mortgage to Habitat for Humanity for which there is a zero percent interest rate.
The Chicago Bears selected Grasu in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft. Grasu, a four-year starter at Oregon, could start right away for the Bears at a position of severe need for Chicago. The Bears let go of veteran center Roberto Garza this offseason leaving a huge void in the middle of the offensive line.