Archive for Thursday, April 29, 2004

Hammer time

Rain dampens first nail drive, but not spirits

April 29, 2004

Saturday's official start, the "nail drive," for the Habitat for Humanity house being built in west Baldwin City was drenched with rain, but it didn't dampen the spirits of 40 people on hand.

"Exactly," said Diane Kennedy, whose family will own the home when it's completed. "It didn't dampen the spirits of anyone. That's right."

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The nail drive was set for 9 a.m. and weather forecasters had been predicting rain all week for all day Saturday. They weren't wrong. It did rain most of the morning, at least, but the habitat folks still turned out in droves.

"I was just pretty much overwhelmed by the turnout because of the rain," said Kennedy. "It was nice to see all the people there and the support they were giving."

Diane Wagner, coordinator of volunteers for the Baldwin habitat project, was also pleased with the turnout in the rain. Wagner said the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity organization, which is in charge of the local effort, was impressed.

"I think people really enjoyed it," Wagner said of the nail drive. "It was good to get it started. I was up at the habitat meeting in Lawrence Monday night and they were real pleased with the turnout, especially with the weather.

"They said they never have a turnout like that for their nail drives," she said. "They are impressed with what's going on in Baldwin."

Because of the rain, there wasn't much done Saturday except for the ceremony. That all changed Tuesday when the work started in earnest. The "Tuesday Group," who are regulars in the habitat program, showed up and the walls went up, too.

Kennedy, who works at the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center, took the day off and joined in on the wall raising as part of her "sweat equity" in the home. She found out that the framing crew does quite a bit and that those nail guns are heavy.

"I'm sore today," she said Wednesday. "But it was great. It was exciting. It seems like reality now. It was fun to take the day off and work on the house.

"It was fun to see the walls go up," Kennedy said. "It was fun to see the process. I've done work on houses in Lawrence as part of my requirement, but the walls have always been up on those. It was a good group to work with."

By the time Tuesday's work was over, all but a few of the walls were up and plywood was put around much of the house. Kennedy knew she had been through a day of work and really felt it on Wednesday. But, she was also surprised by what was accomplished.

"I was amazed having nine people how much we got done," she said. "They knew what they were doing. They knew exactly what to do, what to prep and move on. It went smoothly. I just followed their lead."

Next week, the Worden Church will provide the volunteers for the next round of work. Wagner said she is still taking volunteers and those interested can call her at (785) 423-1246.

"We've had great response from all sorts of people," said Wagner. "May is pretty much booked up, except for Mother's Day weekend. But, we are always looking for volunteers."

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