Monday, September 17, 2007

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Who knew that my week would begin with putting a roof on!? Diane and the other volunteers just hammered away at Ruth's house on Saturday and Sunday until it was nearly built. The progress this year compared to last is amazing.

When I showed up this morning I talked with Mark Butler, the house captain from Atlanta, Ga. Turns out that Mark has been doing this "just about 10 minutes longer" than the rest of us. His version of 10 minutes is a little warped. Mark has build more than 200 homes as a volunteer with Habitat and The Fuller Center for Housing and now averages about six homes a year. It shows in his leadership and problem solving and as a result the day went incredibly smooth.
Mark tells the group what the tasks for the day are while Al Cook and Ruth listen.

After Greg Hunt said a prayer, Mark talked about the day and we broke into groupsand got to work.

As the black tar paper went down, the beautiful 60-degree morning quickly turned into a blistering day on the roof. I spent most of my time with a couple of guys from Canada... Montreal to be exact. As we talked about differences in language and culture we hammered away and the next thing you know we had laid down felt paper, put up drip edge and shingled nearly half the roof! Paul, Daniel and Sean may talk a little funny, but they can sure sling shingles... eh?
At lunch Councilman Joe Shyne stopped by to shake some hands and cheer on the volunteers. It was really appreciated and I am glad that the councilman could see the massive project in motion. I asked him to bring some other councilmen with him as the week goes on. I hope he does. I have a number of new friends in Allendale I would love for them to meet.
As the day progressed so did the houses. The others on our block (some of whom started with just bare foundations) were putting up roof decking when I left at 5:30.

Tomorrow is another day and another list of things to be accomplished. I hope to take a little time around lunch and visit with some of the other house crews. Everyone's got a great story and I can't tell all 400 of them, but I will try.

For now I am off to find dinner (ice sounds good) and try to get a little rest before it all starts again.

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