Tuesday, October 22, 2013 was an overcast day with a spattering of rain now and then. It might have started as a quiet morning in Jacobus, most are; but by 8:30 there was enough sawing, nailing and drilling to wake up even the drowsiest of sleepers. It was another workday on Laurie Hanline and her family’s Habitat for Humanity home, and today the volunteers were from Smith Village, right up the street. Because the home is in Jacobus makes it natural that our store would get involved, but it was made even more so as the building lot was a donation from the Smith family. Because of that, all of us at the store kind of look at it as “our” house. We can walk across the street at any time to check on the progress, which has been impressive.
The Smith family (Dale, Anna Mae, Susie and Dallas) all turned out to help; and Bill, Mary, Mark, Jim and I rounded out the team. Our supervisor was Bob, who wasted no time assigning jobs to all of us. He singled out Susie and Mary to be our “cutters.” We were going to be working on the home’s siding and soffit, so their work was crucial. Susie was a little nervous about it. I think her exact words were, “Don’t look at me! I’m not using a saw!” But Bob wasn’t at all put off by her reluctance, and within 15 minutes she and Mary were old pros. Bob chose well – these two were efficient and precise, and kept us supplied with siding and soffit cut to measure for the rest of the day.
Habitat was very lucky to have Jim on the job site that day. With years of building experience, he was able to take over the bending, cutting and installing of aluminum fascia, which freed the Habitat employees to accomplish other jobs too complicated for us volunteers. Jim knew exactly what to do, and I’m sure this allowed our team to complete far more that day than we would have otherwise. In his typical contrary manner, however, he refused to take any credit and just said, “I did whatever needed to be done.” I would have to add that he did it all very well.
Anna Mae, Dale, Bill and I worked on the siding to the left and right of the garage door. When we reached the top of the door, we realized that the two sides did not line up, and Dale and Anna Mae had to pull off the one side and redo it. Now at this point I was recruited by Bob for a different area, and I didn’t get back around the front until about a half hour later. By then, Bill had managed to unite the two sides seamlessly, and it looked great. I was impressed. Bill was modest. (Like, “aw shucks, me?” modest.)
It made me think how tough it must be for the Habitat for Humanity supervisors to be leading a crew of rank amateurs every day with the good humor and grace that they continually demonstrate. After all, it is up to them to make sure that the work they do is up to code, as well as suitable to the homeowner. They deserve a lot of credit.
After the masterminding of the garage problem; Bob realized that Bill has had some building experience, and he pulled him off siding to do some of the trickier soffit work. He and a Habitat employee installed soffit all across the front of the house, then Bill moved on to installing J channel, assembling scaffolding and installing nailer boards for drywall inside the house. He made it all look easy.
Meanwhile, around the side of the garage, the rest of us were putting up siding, from the bottom to the top. The project was a team effort: measuring, cutting, and nailing. Dallas, Mark and I, and another volunteer named Stephanie hammered away all day; and once we got into the roof peak, Jim came to our rescue and cut all the angle pieces. We never could have finished that side in one day without Jim. Mark says he can now pass for a skilled craftsman, as he didn’t hammer his finger even once, which is more than I can say for myself.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the behind the scenes players involved with the house. Lance Beard from Beard’s Towing in Jacobus, and Brad Douts of Douts’s Excavating in Loganville did the site work and excavation required to build the foundation of the home, long before the house was anything more than a blueprint. Without their dual effort, there would have been no house for us to work on. Their work is just one example of how the community here in the Jacobus/Loganville area has rallied around Laurie Hanline and her family. Southern York Countians are often characterized as reserved, old fashioned, stick in the muds. Ok, sometimes we are. But we’re always here for our neighbors when they need a hand. Welcome to Jacobus, Laurie. You’re one of us now!