MWV Habitat Women Build event a big success

By Dick Ficke, Published Date: Thursday, 14 May 2015

MADISON — There were eight-year veterans, first-timers, high school and college students, mothers and daughters, and elected officials who gathered at Grison Road in Madison on Saturday, May 9, as part of the nationwide Habitat for Humanity Women Build Week.

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Sponsored by Lowe’s, 35 women swung hammers, drilled holes, cut lumber, carried building stock, assembled window and door headers, and framed walls under the tutelage of MWV Habitat volunteers.

When asked if this was the first time she had participated, Donna Veilleux of Tamworth said, “No, I’ve been doing this for eight years!”

Asked what her motivation was, she replied: “It’s selfish,” adding, “after all, getting is in the giving.”

Julie Levine and her daughter, Dana of Glen, were one of four mother-daughter teams who participated. Her attitude was, “What better way is there for a mother and daughter to spend Mother’s Day Weekend than to help another mom less fortunate?”

Doug Magoun, MWV Habitat past president and chairman of the Family Selection Committee, started the day by welcoming all, briefing participants on the history of Women Build and stressing that safety was first and foremost. The women were then formed several groups: cutting lumber, drilling wire-run holes, assembling door and window headers and assembling framed walls.

Doug Morehouse, head of the Habitat construction committee, along with fellow committee members Bob Howe and Anthony Ruddy, oversaw the operation along with regular Habitat volunteers who can be seen at a Habitat worksite each week.

Leslie Mallet, secretary and chairperson of the Family Support committee, organized the day, coordinating efforts with Lowe’s as well as with Habitat International.

She noted that this was the eighth consecutive year that the MWV Affiliate has been chosen to participate in this national event, and that “our affiliate is one of only two in the entire state to have been chosen.”

She was quick to praise the Habitat volunteers who worked closely with the women to ensure their efforts were productive as well as safety-compliant. Because of crowded parking conditions at the building site, Mallett coordinated with Jamie Sabino, owner of the Community Market and Deli, to use the deli’s parking lot from which to shuttle participants.

Bolstered by morning coffee and pastries as well as lunch provided by Altrusa International of Carroll County, the women had sawdust flying and hammers ringing until an entire wall was assembled and raised, while two others neared completion before the day was out.  Several women were heard saying that they couldn’t wait to do this again next year — that it was one of the most rewarding projects they had ever participated in.

The women who volunteered their time and muscles to building the home were: Erica Bertrand, Constance Blake, Debra Callis, Beth Campbell, Carol Case, Abigail Cassell, Renetta Cassell, Jane Davidson, Antoinette DeCourcey, Sue Derouin, Kelly Drew, Lisa Dufault, Sara Elsemore, Heidi Forde, Samantha Forde, Louise Gagnon, Nicole Hardin, Susan Henry, Jessica Hodgkins, Donna Howland, Kathy Jaeger, Melissa LaRoche, Nicole LaRoche, Dana Levine, Julie Levine, Leslie Mallett, Dotty McAllister, Janet McMahon, Suzanne Nelson,Debra Phaneuf, Debra Reuning, Kathleen Somerville, Joanne Turner, Karen Umberger and Donna Veilleux.

A family is currently going through the selection process for this house, and the day before, a third unit at the North Road complex in Conwaywas sold to a new homeowner.

For  information on how to volunteer your services at a building site, participate in fundraising projects such as furniture pickup or indoor yard sales or donate to Habitat, visit the website/Facebook page at mwv-habitat.org or call (603) 356-3832.