DANVILLE — Next week, some area police officers, firefighters, ambulance workers and National Guard soldiers will lay down the tools of their trade and pick up a saw and hammer to help build a house for a Danville woman and her two sons.
Habitat for Humanity of Danville recruited the volunteers to help build the shell of the home — blitz style — on the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
"It's going to be a neat experience," Executive Director John Graves said, adding the local chapter wanted to answer Habitat for Humanity International's call to remember and honor the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a special service project.
The house build will be the local chapter's 50th project in the Danville area. Officials have been working to fund it with $1,000 donations from 50 sponsors.
"We're getting close," said Graves, who still is looking for more contributors.
Habitat for Humanity of Danville officials are seeking business, church, organization and individual sponsorships of $1,000 to help finance its 50th project. To make a donation, call 497-4234 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans call for building a one-story, ranch-style house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms on 1 1/2 lots at 1109 Robinson St. next to another Habitat house that was built several years ago. The home's value will be between $80,000 and $100,000, but it will cost only $55,000 to build because of the volunteer labor.
The house is being built for Kimberly Bryant, a phlebotomist at Carle on Fairchild Street, and her two sons — Spurgeon and Trenton Barber, who are 11 and 2 respectively. When Bryant learned she would be the homeowner, she cried tears of joy.
"It means the world to me," said the single mother, whose rental house has had a mold problem due to leaky basement walls for at least a year. She and her children moved into that home because the furnace in her previous rental had a carbon monoxide leak.
"I feel so blessed to be getting my own home," Bryant continued, adding she's grateful to Habitat and all of the organization, church and emergency service volunteers who will help build it.
Graves said Habitat volunteers already poured the house's foundation, laid concrete block and built a sub-floor to prepare for the blitz build. On that day, volunteers will register at 8 a.m.
Then the first of three crews, all of whom will work three-hour shifts, will put up the walls, which were built at a church camp a couple of summers ago. The second crew will build the trusses, and the third will put sheeting on the roof.
"It's probably going to be a pretty long day," Graves said with a laugh. He added that work typically would take three to four weeks to complete.
The Danville chapter's last blitz build was back in the late 1990s, Graves said. While there are pros, he said the organization hasn't done one since because they are more difficult to coordinate, oversee and control the quality of the work.
Fortunately, Graves said, several volunteers have construction experience.
"They'll be there to make sure we do everything right," he said.
Following the blitz build, Graves said, Habitat's core group of volunteers will side and roof the house, install doors and windows and do the interior work over the winter months. He hopes to turn the keys over to Bryant next spring.
Bryant has been working at the ReStore to earn her 300 "sweat equity" hours, a requirement of homeowners. She's also eager to help out with the blitz build and other parts of the project, such as choosing colors for the home and landscaping the yard.
"It's going to be so fulfilling looking back and knowing that I helped build it," Bryant said. "That will just help me appreciate it and value it that much more."