Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We helped build a house!

Volunteer Coordinator Jenny McElyea recruited six coworkers from Area Command, Major Jim Taylor and five ARC program participants to help finish a house for Habitat for Humanity on a recent Friday. We were happily surprised to be joined by the housing maintenance staff of the Mental Health Association in Tulsa. In other words, there were plenty of folks to get the job done. Partnering with the association was nothing new to The Salvation Army, because one of our case managers at the Center of Hope, Jason Wolfe, works as the case manager for two participants in the association’s “A Way Home Tulsa” program. 

“You’ll get to say that you helped build a house,” Jenny had said when she recruited us, and indeed we did. She and Carrie Salce, special events and fundraising director, got the toughest jobs, measuring and cutting linoleum tile that covered most of the three-bedroom house. They had plenty of guidance from Habitat construction supervisor Rick Stout who told me a funny story about volunteer builders. It seems we hate to throw anything away. “The volunteers couldn’t stand to waste any drywall, so they used every little piece. Their walls looked like a patchwork quilt,” Rick said.
Rick would hire professional drywallers to tape, mud and sand the interior walls, and he said it took an “unbelievable” amount of mud and of time. “Finally they made us an offer,” he said. "They said 'Let us put up the drywall ourselves and we won’t charge you any more for doing the whole job and it will be a lot quicker,'” Rick said. The new system worked great. As far as our waste, we did have to throw away a few damaged tiles, but it sure didn’t look like a patchwork quilt. In fact, it looked perfect. Homeowner Gaylia Patrick will move into her home soon, along with her three children. Congratulations Gaylia – hope you like your new flooring. Thank you Jenny and Habitat. Call us any time - our tape measures are ready!

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