Volunteers support Habitat Women's Build

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Progress is being made on Habitat for Humanity of South Barry County's Women's Build, which is being completed on Oak Street in Cassville. Around 30 volunteers have worked over 500 hours on the project so far.

"I would like to thank all of the volunteers who have worked on the project by donating money, time and prayer support," said Nora Young, local Habitat for Humanity president. "Without the volunteers this project wouldn't be possible."

Several of the volunteers helping with the Women's Build travel from Shell Knob to Cassville to work on the project at least three days each week. Board member Gary Clift and Shell Knob residents Lee and Karol Koon, Charlie and Jackie Morie and Dan and Pam Gipple have helped with the building process this year.

"Our minister, Dean Wilson, got me involved with Habitat for Humanity around two years ago," said Clift. "He asked me and another church member to serve on the Habitat for Humanity Board."

Clift has attended Central Crossing United Methodist Church with the Koons, Mories and Gipples for several years. In addition to donating time to the Habitat project, the couples have helped with Hurricane Katrina rebuilding projects in and around Pascagoula, Miss., where Charlie resides during a portion of the year.

"When we got this build started, I knew these fellows were looking for something to do, so I invited them to come over and help," said Clift. "Lee has worked on many different projects, and he knows what to do. We are just his helpers."

Although Lee does not have a background in construction, he has helped many of his friends complete home projects and learned construction skills by volunteering in the Gulf Coast area every winter.

"Lee has always got a project," said Clift. "He helped with Charlie's basement and my garage. If anyone needs a project done, he jumps in and helps."

"If you don't want his help with a project, you don't tell him your doing it," Charlie said with a laugh.

Under Lee's direction, the group of retired Shell Knob residents have framed the inside and placed the doors and windows in the berm-style home. Tom Cole, an Eagle Rock resident who attends All Faith United Methodist Church, completed the electrical work in the house.

Other lake area residents who have assisted with the project include: Dean Wilson; Nancy Wilson, All Faith United Methodist Church pastor; Ronnie Walker; and Boyce Hattaway.

"We've done a bulk of work inside and some outside work too," said Clift. "Lee keeps telling us that this is fun."

Although they have all enjoyed working on the Habitat for Humanity project in Cassville, over the next few weeks, Lee, Charlie and Dan will be leaving Barry County to help in the Gulf Coast area. With much work still ahead, both men and women volunteers are needed to complete the project.

"We need to finish the plumbing, put on the siding and finish the interior work, like the cabinets and things," said Young.

Individuals interested in volunteering to help complete the home are encouraged to call Volunteer Coordinator Judy Hayes at First State Bank in Cassville at 847-6623.

Habitat for Humanity of South Barry County hopes to finish the Women's Build sometime in January. When the project is completed, Samuel and Amber Wilkinson and their four children will move into the 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom home.

"I would also like to thank the Wilkinsons for being willing to partner with us," said Young. "It is sometimes hard to find someone who qualifies. They must have a need, the ability to pay a small payment and the willingness to partner with us."

Habitat for Humanity does not profit on the sale of its homes. House payments are used to help build other Habitat homes in south Barry County. Families that qualify for a Habitat home are required to contribute 300 hours of "sweat equity" during the building process.

Habitat for Humanity, a non-denominational Christian organization dedicated to serving individuals in need by providing simple, decent and affordable housing, relies on volunteers and the donation of funds and materials to complete its projects.

In addition to the Women's Build, the local Habitat for Humanity is working on a Rural Build Project in the Golden-Eagle Rock-Mano area. Property in Emerald Beach has been donated for the project.

"We have the property cleared and we looking for a partner family," said Young. "The Rural Build Committee wants to find a family from that area. We still need applications."

Families interested in applying for the Habitat for Humanity home that will be completed in the Emerald Beach area are encouraged to pick up an application at the Restore or the Barry County Neighborhood Center in Cassville or the Thrift Store in Shell Knob.

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