The Herald Bulletin

May 22, 2013

Community Build celebrates Habitat’s 25th year

By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — The parking lot behind the First United Methodist Church in downtown Anderson was a blur of bright green T-shirts Saturday.

Volunteers turned out for the Community Build Event marking Habitat for Humanity’s 25th anniversary in Madison County. What started out as a pile of lumber at 8:30 in the morning wound up at noon as the framed walls of Habitat’s latest project home.

“I can’t believe how much help is out here,” said Regina Ashley. She was one of those on the site wielding a hammer, but Ashley has an extra-special interest in the project. “This is going to be my house.”

Ashley was one of about 100 people swarming the lot. The space was alive with activity as tunes cranked out a beat over loudspeakers.  By noon, the crew had constructed and raised the walls for the three-bedroom 1,350 square-foot ranch home.

The event was orchestrated by Brian Gioe (pronounced ‘joy) from Louisville-based CrossRoads Missions, working with the local Habitat for Humanity. CrossRoads directs similar Help Build Hope events all around the country.

“We do the wall framing for the local Habitat for Humanity and donate those walls,” said Gioe. The completed walls are then transported to the site of the new home. It all depends on local volunteers.

“It’s like a one-day mission trip,” said Gioe.  “A mission trip in your parking lot for one day.”

The result is a happy mix of know-how and neophytes.

“Some don’t know anything. Some know a lot,” said Gioe.

In Anderson, the event actually started a day earlier,  when Gioe got a group of about 20 guys together.

“We pre-cut everything,” said Gioe. The crew labeled the pieces and set up a ‘shopping list’ line in the parking lot. Gioe also provided leader training to the Friday group.

On Saturday, volunteers were divided into teams and received a plan for their task, along with the materials requirements.

“There are 57 walls in this house. Each one has its own plan,” said Gioe. The teams collected their pre-cut lumber from the shopping list line, then set to work putting it together with hammers and nails. Everyone had something to do. Even the kids got into the act.

“Some of the little guys are awesome nailers,” said Gioe. Other kids, out of the way of the tool-wielding teams, were painting colorful decorations on the materials.

Makayla McDole, 9, and Jamison McDole,6, of Lapel, were two of the kids leaving a message of love and scriptures in the walls of the house. They were painting while their dad Jimmy, a Habitat board member, helped out with the building.

Workers were rewarded with lunch and the satisfaction of a job well-done for a deserving partner family. Carol Cates, Madison County Habitat’s CEO, said it’s likely to take another six months before the house is move-in ready. She said there is a core group of about a dozen volunteers who will get most of the work done, with help from local volunteers along the way.

“We like our volunteer groups to come in,” said Cates. “We can always find things for them to do.”

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.