Students, soldiers turn walls into town houses in Annapolis -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Students, soldiers turn walls into town houses in Annapolis


U.S. Army Spc. Corinne Bazarnyj (from left), Spc. Candace Foster, Spc. 1st Class Meta Bailey and Spc. 1st Class Eliodoro Molina were among the 60 volunteers at work in Annapolis, Maryland, on Wednesday. ©Habitat For Humanity/Angel Pachkowski


Broadneck High school volunteer Jonothan Greene learns about construction from house leader Ruth Luttman. ©Habitat For Humanity/Angel Pachkowski


By Larry Perrault and Susan Stevenson

Wednesday was all about sunshine and work on the Annapolis build site of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. High school seniors and soldiers in fatigues stood out among the 60 volunteers.

Wall after wall went up to meet the goal of getting exterior and interior walls in place on each of the 10 new houses. With the walls up, the structures began to look like the town houses they would become, with outlines of doors and windows hinting at the final floor plan.

Pete Cox, construction manager, was pleased with the day’s progress, saying, “We’re exactly where we want to be.”

Thursday will be a “prep day” handled by what Cox called “red hats” and staff. The job will be to get material and supplies ready for large crews of volunteers arriving Friday and Saturday, so no untrained volunteers are scheduled that day. Red hats are not trade professionals, but experienced volunteers trained by the affiliate.

High school power

A group of Annapolis high school seniors got lessons in house construction Wednesday.

The 21 members of the Habitat for Humanity club at Broadneck High School spent the day on the build site. Most students built all day, but three had to leave early for football practice, explained Clayton Culp, a math teacher and the club’s faculty sponsor. He said the club contacted the local affiliate, Habitat of the Chesapeake, last year about volunteering for the Carter project.

The club, which meets every other week to go over construction activities and plan visits to builds, will concentrate on six local builds this school year, Culp said, then go on a 10-day trip during spring break to a Habitat build in another part of the country.

Gabrielle Wubberhorst, 17, a club member, said the group had been to Habitat builds in New Orleans and Iowa on past 10-day trips. She said the group has not decided where it will go this year.

On the site, at least two students were assigned to each house. Gabrielle and Kaila Wood, also 17, were assigned to house No. 3. They started their construction day hammering lumber and then shifted to working on a wall of the home.

The students performed all types of work, from carrying pieces of lumber to contributing with a hammer or measuring wallboard.

Go Army

Spc. 1st Class Eliodoro Molina, 29, said most of his construction experience was with heavy equipment before he arrived at the Habitat build site Wednesday. With other soldiers from Fort Meade, Maryland, Molina was exploring the challenges of a table saw. Fort Meade is in the middle of the Baltimore- Annapolis-Washington, D.C., triangle.

After nine years in the Army, Molina is working in public affairs at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy. “One thing we emphasize is giving back to the community,” he said. “When one of my soldiers wanted to volunteer, I said, ‘Sign me up, too.’”

Spc. Corinne Bazarnyj, 25, has been in the Army just six months and hopes to be an officer. She went to Illinois State after growing up in Elgin, Illinois. Her previous volunteer experience had more to do with special-needs children, but she was doing just fine. Other first-time volunteers were Spc. Candace Foster, Staff Sgt. Clayton Prater and Spc. 1st Class Meta Bailey.

Sgt. Evangeline McKay, a chaplain’s assistant at Fort Meade, said she contacted Habitat of the Chesapeake about volunteering for its builds, and then sent out an e-mail throughout Fort Meade seeking volunteers. She got more than 60 takers. McKay is the niece of Donna Golden, director of government grants and lending resources for Habitat for Humanity International.

Habitat is a family.

Larry Perrault, manager of the Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus, Georgia, is a volunteer in Annapolis. Susan Stevenson is director of Program Communications for Habitat for Humanity International.