May 2013 RV Care-A-Vanners Update

Featured News

We are on our way north along with the other snowbirds in search of spring. We haven't found it yet!  When I left you last month, David and I had just pulled the up the jacks in Americus and were headed to Tuscaloosa. We had a great visit at the Tuscaloosa affiliate, which has truly met the needs of their community after a devastating 2011 tornado. They have a very dedicated staff and the Care-A-Vanners that have worked there have had many good things to say about the construction staff.  We stayed in one of the new RV sites the RV Care-A-Vanner Program has funded. We have builds listed throughout the year in Tuscaloosa, so sign up and bring your basketball, because the RVs are parked on the basketball court!

Speaking of disaster response builds, I have to commend the first team into West Liberty, Ky., this spring. Most of the team members were graduates of our Disaster Response course in Americus that had ended just days before their build in West Liberty. They managed to convince the county to put in 12 RV sites at the fairgrounds in West Liberty immediately. I never saw county government move so fast! The county picked up the cost and promised the RV Care-A-Vanners could use the sites free of charge as long as we have a presence in West Liberty. Our own Care-A-Vanners installed the electricity to each site. In support of that build, the RV Care-A-Vanner Program has installed a phone and DSL line at the fairgrounds since cell service is so poor there. West Liberty was hit by a tornado in 2011 that destroyed 500 housing units. We are making a difference there, so check the build list and sign up for those West Liberty builds.

I want to remind everyone about the RV Care-A-Vanners 25th Anniversary Build and Rally. The dates are April 21 - May 4, 2014. We hope to build four houses with a rally on the weekend of April 27-29. The event will take place in Springfield, Mo. We have rented the entire Ozark Empire Fairgrounds for the event. For those retired Care-A-Vanners, you are welcome at the build and/or rally. We have arranged for a discounted rate at a local hotel. We have a crew there now doing the first Care-A-Vanner build in Springfield and the reports I have gotten back is it is a great place to work. I am very pleased with the response I have gotten on the surveys when asking Care-A-Vanners if they are planning on attending the event. We plan on opening registrations in the late summer. We would also like to fund two of the four houses, and to do that, we have a long way to go in our fundraising efforts. So please consider a donation. Unlike the interest in the event, our fundraising has been lackluster to date. We also need people who are willing to help organize and work at the event. Remember, this is our celebration and we all have to help support it. I can report that the entire Care-A-Vanner desk team and the team recruited by the Ganos, our event coordinators, are all working hard to make this a memorable event. If you are interested in helping with the event, please contact Jane Gano at

I hope you all have a safe trip north and please check out our extensive build list. I launched a Facebook  page last month where you get advanced tips on builds that I list and just find out what is new in the Care-A-Vanner Program. 
Safe travels and happy hammering, 

Mary Vandeveld
RV Care-A-Vanner coordinator

  Team leader Bob Gillespie accepts the resolution on behalf of the RV Care-A-Vanners.
trips Missouri State Senate Resolution

Missouri State Senate Resolution
recognizing Care-A-Vanners first builds in Springfield and our upcoming 25th Anniversary in 2014.


trips In Memoriam
By Bernie & Audrey Ussery

Audrey Ussery's son Rick passed away Friday April 12. Audrey was with him at the time of his passing. Fortunately, he had been able to keep his pain under control up to last 48 hours, which was a blessing.

Rick had prostate cancer. It has been a long ordeal for Audrey to be with him there in California. She basically moved into her son's house for many months so that his wife could continue to work. Audrey is always the one doing for others. Bernie had surgery on his shoulder April 23, but they are signed up for a Port Townsend build the end of the summer, so hopefully he will be healed by then.

For those who would like to send a card, the address is: Bernie & Audrey Ussery, 4412 Aquarius Rd., Lompoc, CA. 93436.

Team leader corner
First, a big THANK YOU to our Awesome April team leaders. They are: Frances Harless, Jake Newell, Dan and Carolyn Banks, Bill Gott, Joe and Jane Gano, Jim and Kathy McBride, Margot and Larry Durham and Doug Augustine.

The Care-A-Vanners have been very fortunate to have a number of new builders join us in the last few months. Some come with construction experience and some who have never picked up a hammer, but all come with a desire to help get a deserving family into a safe, decent and affordable home. I would just like to remind team leaders to be sure to keep a lookout for our "newbies" throughout the build. Some will be comfortable working independently on a task. For those who are not, you might want to consider asking one of the more experienced Care-A-Vanners to pair up with a new one, to serve as a "mentor."

Another quick reminder: please remind team members that they should take a break whenever they feel a need. Please have an organized break in the morning and/or afternoon, depending on your work schedule. This is especially important for our newer Care-A-Vanners who may be unsure of the rules and not want to take a break apart from the team.

Lastly, there is no expectation that a team should work 40 hours a week on a build. Generally, a six to seven hour work day is plenty! If the affiliate is accustomed to a longer work day, the team leader can simply inform the affiliate the hours they plan to work. In general, it is expected that the Care-A-Vanners will start at the time announced by the affiliate but may break earlier in the afternoon.
If you have any questions about this or any other items in the team leader packet, please contact me at any time.

Remember, if you've been thinking about becoming team leaders but are not sure what's involved, contact me at and I will send you the guidelines. Also, don't forget to check the "team leader interest" box on your registration if you are willing to lead the build.
Finally, team leaders are needed for the following builds. If you are available and willing, please contact me.

  • Santa Fe, New Mexico, May 19 � June 2
  • Leechburg, Pennsylvania, June 2 � 16
  • Hibbings, Minnesota, June 9 � 23
  • Quinnesec, Michigan, July 7 � 21
  • Tacoma, Washington, August 4 � 17
  • Mankato, Minnesota, August 11 � 25
  • Sheridan, Wyoming, August 11 � September 1

Thank you,
Brenda Sawyer
Team leader coordinator

Disaster Response

  • West Liberty, Ky.: (formally known as Morehead, Ky.): West Liberty lost 500 housing units, many low-income, in the March 2, 2011 tornado. I have scheduled builds through early November. 
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Tuscaloosa is rebuilding following the massive tornado in 2011. They now have room for eight RVs at their volunteer facility. I have listed the Tuscaloosa builds on our website for summer and fall start. No experience is required to work at Tuscaloosa and I have heard from the builders that have been there this winter that it is a great place to work. Thanks to a grant from the RV Care-A-Vanner Program made possible by Larson Manufacturing, there are now eight full hookups sites in Tuscaloosa.
  • Joplin, Mo.: I still have a need for a house leader October 7-12, 2013. Our responsibility is to lead a Thrivent team of 10 to 12 members and enhance their volunteer experience. There will be local construction supervision available. If you might be interested, please contact me for more information at  
  • Super Storm Sandy relief: I listed our first Sandy recovery build in Toms River, N.J., ground zero for Sandy. I just had a cancelation for that build and am looking for one more rig. That build starts on May 12, 2013. Thank you for that great support! Several affiliates have just received significant funding and I have been told to expect a need for Care-A-Vanners, so stay tuned. If you would like to be on my email list for Sandy Recovery, please send me a note to I will notify Care-A-Vanners on my list first about build opportunities.  

trips Upcoming Builds

We add new builds whenever an affiliate schedules one. We try to update the list on Fridays so that you can check over the weekend to see if any new ones have been added. Builds are now sorted by date when the list comes up. You can sort by state by clicking the link at the top of the list. Just click on the build list.

Featured Builds

  • Check out the Omaha Framing Frenzy starting on September 22, 2013. They are framing four houses. If you love to frame, this is the build for you! Framers this build is for you, click here.
  • Remember to check out my Facebook page for the latest on build listings. 

trips Collegiate Challenge

As those of you who have been following my articles over the last couple of months know, we are now trying to help local affiliates who host students by providing them with crew leaders to help supervise these students. Over this time period, it became obvious that we needed a wider audience to help fulfill requests for this kind of help and that a simple email list wasn't the answer. Therefore, a new procedure is in place.

  1. Any affiliate needing supervisory help with students will now be able to list these as one week builds on the regular build list. They have the code CC after the city to designate them as Collegiate Challenge builds. Only from one to three rigs will be needed for most of these builds, depending on the local affiliate's need. You will get the usual confirmation of your registration when you sign up. 
  2. These CC builds have the following sentence under Type of Work: "As a crew leader, you will be supervising the work of Collegiate Challenge students. You should have a variety of construction experience either as a volunteer or as a professional to sign up for this build." 
  3. I am acting as the team leader for these builds and will send a letter to each participate in a timely manner about where the RV parking is, who the contact person and other pertinent information.

There are several CC builds already listed for 2014; just look for the CC after the name of the place on the build list. If you haven't considered working with students before, it might be something you would be surprised to find very enjoyable and rewarding. You can sign up for just one week or as many weeks as you want at any one affiliate or work at one affiliate for a several build weeks and then another later in the spring. George and I have found these young adults to be compassionate and caring and they love to hear your stories of other builds and places you have been.

Diane Gravlee
Collegiate Challenge coordinator

trips Anniversary Celebration

We have been putting names on our tablets of people who, generously, are volunteering to take lead roles in the Anniversary Build and Rally in 2014. These people will handle the registrations, banquets, seminars, parking and a myriad of other still loose ends. 

One of the loosest ends still to be discussed is the funding of our anniversary building project. Care-A-Vanners and the affiliates generally can build a house in the low $60K's, and we are establishing a goal of funding two houses as our anniversary celebration. We would like to build more and probably will, but our funding goal is for two. Depending on how that goes we may add a third one later on. 
Jane and I have prepared a short video on YouTube communicating our goal and means to contribute, along with a suggested minimum gift. You can view our message at this link. It runs a little over two minutes and you can meet us, for those of you who have not yet met us.

The appeal is very simple: most of us have the means to support the housing projects that we build. We not only bring ourselves, but also our skills, our tools, our living quarters and food. There are about 1600 active Care-A-Vanners and if each one of us gave only $80 to this fund we would have our goal reached quickly. For some this is quite a stretch, and for some others, a larger gift is reasonable. Leadership gifts are appreciated and will be suitably acknowledged.

Jane and I would encourage everyone to have a look at their personal possibilities for giving to this important fund opportunity. When you make your decision, the contribution link is here and on the Care-A-Vanners Web page. Please use it to make your contribution directly to the project code for our Care-A-Vanner 25th Anniversary Building Fund. 

Many thanks and blessings for your generous thoughts about this possibility. 

Jane and Joe Gano

Remember, and put on your calendars,
25th Anniversary Build & Rally, April 21 � May 4, 2014, Springfield, Mo.

NOTE: A 25th Anniversary information page including an online donation button is now live.
What we need is a volunteer to head up each of these categories: seminars, food, entertainment, decorations, photographer and MC for the evening events at the rally. Please contact the above coordinators for the position you would like to volunteer for.

From the Registration Desk

Contact Information for the Registration Coordinator. No article for this Month.

Lu Tillotson
RV registration desk

Welcome new Care-A-Vanners

Walter and Marril Lee Burke, Mara Culp, Don and Judy Crane, Mark and Donna Crick, Tom Garcia, Bob Hagen, John Oates, Ray and Barbara Phillips, Tony and Marijke Schellenbach, Lyle and Ruth Ann Stacy,

Our apologies if we have included a seasoned Care-A-Vanner, or if this is duplication. Habitat for Humanity is grateful for the work that you do!

 Safety Corner

I am providing some additional information on dealing with mold. Remember, we Care-A-Vanners are not licensed mold remediators and should not attempt work that is really best done by licensed professionals. This information is presented only to deepen Care-A-Vanner understanding of some remediation techniques. We are not expected to do this work. Below are comments from Kevin Gobble, building specialist for HFHI:

The key is to determine the size of the mold area and the type of mold. It is always best to leave mold cleanup to the professional crews. A specific type of mold may not affect one person but may have drastic effect on someone else.  

Mold can also have a lasting effect on individuals as they are exposed to higher concentrations or more areas. At a minimum, homes with mold areas more than 9 square feet should hire experts.
Here are some steps that should be taken if mold is found:

  • Seal off the moldy area from other areas.
  • Set up fans blowing outside to create a negative air environment using HEPA filters.
  • Clean the mold with detergent and water (borax mixed 1 cup per gallon and add a 1/2 cup of vinegar per gallon) or spray with hydrogen peroxide and wipe off.
  • Dry the area with completely and fix the moisture problem (ventilation, proper drainage and slope).
  • When cleaning up, use a HEPA vacuum otherwise the mold will be blown throughout the house.  

Proper personal protection equipment for dealing with mold is N95 min (respirator preferred), with sealed goggles, because mold can get in your eyes. Full body coveralls and head cover or disposable covers such as the lead containment clean up should also be used, as the mold spores will become airborne when removed if they are not already.

Air samples can help determine types and amount of mold present and should be taken before and after a large project is remediated to ensure the problem is solved, especially before any area is covered up or sprayed with paint. Only lacquer-based and oil-based paint should be used after cleaning and inspection to seal the area.

Be safe,

Frank Peccia Alan Davis
Care-a-vanner safety Safety and training director - retired

Questions, cancellations or concerns?
1-800-HABITAT, ext. 7534
1-229-410-7534 (direct)
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