Governor joins in on women's build

By Lynn R. Parks

When volunteers with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity held the traditional project blessing for a new home in Concord Village near Seaford, the Rev. Rick Betts, Crossroad Community Church, Bridgeville, asked the nearly 100 people there to surround the house and place a hand on its rough exterior. "That was a very powerful moment," said Kevin Gilmore, the chapter's executive director. "I was standing there, Gov. Ruth Ann Minner was on one side of me and [Seaford] Mayor Ed Butler on the other. We all had our heads bowed, our hands were on the house, and we all asked God's blessings on the home." The house, one of five under construction in the village, is being built largely by women. That kind of "theme build" helps to generate excitement and attract volunteers, Gilmore said. "We are seeing a lot of new faces out there, and that means more volunteers for Habitat," he said. "And that will allow us to continue to have an impact on our community." Wendy Daudt, Seaford, is the project leader of the "women's build," which started April 21. Since then, volunteers have put up exterior and interior walls and installed the decking. This week, they will be putting up rafters and nailing down the roof. "I've never done anything like this before, so I don't really know how long it will take for us to get finished," Daudt said. "But we are looking at a three- to five-month time frame." The house is being built for Enrique Perez, his wife, Sarah Mazariegos, and their five children, ages 5 to 14. The Perez family is currently renting what Daudt describes as a "very run-down" house in Georgetown. "There is something very empowering about using your hands to create something that's going to help another family," Daudt said. "The women who are working on this house realize that we are building something that will help to move children out of poverty. We are making home-ownership a reality for a family in need." Daudt said that she became interested in Habitat after going to Gulfport, Miss., to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. While there, she learned how to spackle drywall – "If you can ice a cake, you can put on spackle," the construction manager told her – and after she came home she wanted to apply her new-found skills to helping families in her community. Her first experience with Habitat was with the blitz build, a one-weekend building project that took place in September. "Then I learned about the women's build, and I just really felt that God was telling me that I would be the leader of the project," she said. Daudt said that volunteers for the women's build have varying levels of ability. "We are encouraged by each other to tackle all aspects of construction," she said. "This is an amazing opportunity for me to help women use their talents, and to see them grow."

For your information:
Sussex County Habitat for Humanity is still looking for volunteers to help with its Concord Village near Seaford. Especially needed are people who can work on the "women's build" project on Wednesdays and Thursdays. For information, visit the Web site HYPERLINK "http://www.sussexcountyhabitat.org" www.sussexcountyhabitat.org or call the Habitat Georgetown office, 855-1153 or project leader Wendy Daudt, 629-8260.

About Concord Village
The 15-acre Concord Village, east of Seaford near Concord, will have19 homes, all built by volunteers with the Sussex County Habitat for Humanity, for families that are living in substandard housing. Two homes in the village are already occupied. Two are 95-percent completed, said chapter executive director Kevin Gilmore, and three others are under construction. One of those under construction is the women's build. Another is a "community build," being headed by Frank Parks with Home Team Realty, Seaford, and the third was started by a California firm that did a one-weekend blitz build. The Concord project is part of a nationwide Habitat project to build 1,000 homes in the United States in three years. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian, non-profit organization based in Americus, Ga., that builds houses for families in need. Since its founding in 1976, it has built 200,000 homes throughout the world. The homes are sold to the families, who pay for them through no-interest loans held by Habitat.

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