A little before 9 a.m. Saturday, Jones was one of a crew of about 15 sponsored by Calhoun County Habitat For Humanity helping build her new three-bedroom home on Striplin Drive in Hobson City. But as Habitat’s director, Ron Hindman, was instructing the volunteers to “bend your knees and lift” the back wall onto the foundation of her future home, Jones had made her away across the backyard to hug and introduce herself to the man mowing his lawn just a few feet away.
Jones is the sixth Calhoun County resident this year to receive a new home from the nonprofit which builds affordable homes for eligible in-need applicants.
Calhoun County’s chapter of Habitat began in 1993, and reached its apex a little less than ten years later when it partnered with the Jimmy Carter Work Project to bring volunteers from all over the world to build homes throughout the area.
And while the local Habitat Chapter hasn’t had a boom like that in the last ten years, Hindman said the group is still going strong, building six or seven homes a year.
They get a lot of help, naturally, though programs like Collegiate Challenge, which brings college student volunteers to the area every spring break, as well as local sponsors like Earth Link, which has helped build four houses locally in support of the group and represented the majority of the crew on hand Saturday.
“We’ve built 146 houses in Calhoun County, which is amazing when you think about it,” Hindman said.
It also helps that once you get a volunteer interested, that person tends to get hooked, said Kristie Warren, a Network Planning Administrator with Earth Link.
“What other thing can you do that gives a person a safe place to live and raise their children,” Warren said. “It’s an absolute, purely tangible thing you do, and you can see it when you’re done.”
Warren said the first house she helped build was for a woman who lived with her two grandchildren. Once the walls were up the children couldn’t wait to show Warren where their rooms would be, making sure she didn’t walk through the unfinished walls, but through the doors.
“If you can do that and not want to come back, you need to check your heart,” she said.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.