Women are ready to spearhead project

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Habitat for Humanity of South Barry County broke ground Tuesday on its latest project, a Women's Build in Cassville.

The local Habitat affiliate has purchased a lot on Oak Hill Street near Cassville's twin water towers and that is where the groundbreaking took place. A house that once served as the parsonage for Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cassville has been donated to Habitat and will be moved to the property sometime after Jan. 1, 2007.

U.S. Congressman Roy Blunt attended Tuesday's ceremony and pledged his support for future Habitat projects in the area. He said his office has raised money for seven Habitat houses so far and he and his staff have spent at least one day a year volunteering on Habitat construction sites.

"This is a great thing for a community to do," said Blunt.

Nora Young, Habitat vice president who is actively involved on the Women's Build Committee, explained the scope of the local project to Blunt.

"I feel like God's hand has been on this project since we started," said Young. "Every door has been opened, and we think it's really going to be a fun project."

It will cost Habitat about $15,000 to move the house, and once it is at its new location, work will begin to renovate the structure. Brian Stehlik has donated excavation work at the site.

Diane Lyons has volunteered to serve as project manager. She will be assisted by her father, Bud Lowe, a local builder, who has agreed to serve as construction coordinator. Judy Hayes has agreed to handle the duties of volunteer coordinator for the project.

"I think it's great that the community has seen this need and responded," said Young. "We have a lot of substandard housing."

Dave Samuel, Habitat president, said he, too, was thrilled with the outpouring of support for the latest project.

"The women are ready to go," said Samuel. "People from the community have really stepped up and taken over the leadership of this project. It's really exciting to see that kind of community involvement."

To date, about 40 women have already expressed their interest to work on the project, which will include building a new front porch for the home and also doing interior remodeling work, such as painting and filling cracks.

"No one should feel that there isn't a job for her or him," said Young. "The majority of the work will be done by women, but we don't exclude men."

Mike Mitchell, the manager of Lowe's in Monett, will be providing free training for volunteers on the use of tools and job site safety. Lowe's is a national underwriter for the Habitat's Women's Build program.

"Any person that volunteers at a Habitat for Humanity job site will be given a job and trained on the tools needed to complete the task," said Young. "People can volunteer one day or every day."

Work days will be held on Saturdays, and if there are enough interested individuals, there may be work days set up during the week.

Anyone interested in volunteering on the project is encouraged to contact Young at 847-0360. Financial donations are also being accepted to support the project and can be mailed to Habitat for Humanity, 101 E. Seventh St., Cassville MO 65625.

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