Three Communities Accept the Challenge

The 21st Century Challenge

Meet the Simmons Family

Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003
Aerial view of the Anniston build site.
‘We’re going to do it!’
Construction leaders
pleased with progress

“It has done me good to be somewhat parched by the heat and drenched by the rain of life.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The threat of rain did nothing to dampen spirits in Anniston on Wednesday, and work continued apace in all three cities involved in the 2003 Jimmy Carter Work Project this week. A recap from Wednesday:

Anniston, Ala.—Working under overcast skies, homeowners and volunteers continued with siding and roofing outdoors, while painting began indoors in many of the houses.

The morning remained dry, with the sun breaking through the clouds occasionally; but by early afternoon, the rains came. An intense shower sent volunteers running for cover. Fortunately, it was brief—and even cooled things off a bit on the steamy site.

The day ended with siding completed, sets of shutters installed and an ever-growing sense of anticipation as volunteers and future homeowners crossed the midweek point of the project.

LaGrange, Ga.—If you’d asked me before if you could build a house in seven days, I’d say you couldn’t do it. But we’re going to do it.”

That declaration came Wednesday from block leader Randy Hall. Hall said he is confident LaGrange will complete all 19 of its houses under construction at Hillside Place on schedule, crediting volunteers’ energy and attention to detail for the rapid progress.

He anticipated volunteers would complete painting on 13 houses Wednesday and finish the remaining six Thursday. Other tasks scheduled for today include installing cabinets, doors and trim, as well as beginning ceramic tile installation in the entryway, bathroom and kitchen of each house.

Credit also must be given, Hall said, to the volunteers responsible for keeping the sites tidy and free of construction debris. “It looks like the houses are just growing out of the ground.”

Valdosta, Ga.—After falling a few hours behind the first half of the week, the Valdosta site is back on schedule, according to David "Goose" Connolly, assistant project manager.

"Overall, we're more ahead than behind," he said Wednesday at lunch. Wednesday afternoon, volunteers were completing roofing and drywall on a couple of houses, as other volunteers continued interior work. While some landscaping had already taken place by Wednesday afternoon, the focus in Valdosta is still on completing the houses.

As far as the overall progress goes, "Goose" summed it up best with two words: "I'm pleased!"

At lunch in Valdosta Wednesday, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter addressed a crowd of volunteers and media representatives. The food tent, with its hay floor to soak up the weekend mud, smelled like a barn, but the enthusiasm was hardly stifled.

Carter spoke of his 20-year experience with Habitat for Humanity and recalled a number of memories, some humorous, from past JCWPs. On a serious note, he talked of the gap between the rich and the poor in the world, and said that, through decent housing, Habitat reaches out to low-income families and helps bridge that gap.

“The chasm that exists between rich and poor is difficult to cross,” said Carter. "Habitat requires you to cross that barrier and reach out to those in need."
Atlanta-based consumer advocate and radio show host Clark Howard has sponsored 16 houses with Habitat for Humanity, including the latest in Valdosta, where Veronica Williams and her daughters Ashley, 14, and Charity, 8, will make their home. Howard has been involved with the Atlanta Habitat affiliate since 1996, using money from his speaking engagements for the house sponsorships. As a show of their own support, Howard’s listeners send in contributions, and corporate sponsors help by donating materials and services. Former U.S. President Carter joined Howard Wednesday afternoon for a live, on-site broadcast. Howard’s syndicated show reaches listeners across the country through more than 200 radio stations.

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