By Robin Warden
As the Mitchell-Yancey Habitat for Humanity affiliate brings a close to 2014, we wish to thank our community for the generous support we have received from so many of you. The Tipton family is now well settled in their home in our first Yancey County Habitat Neighborhood. We are steadily moving ahead on our goal to complete the second house for Adriana Silva and her family to take occupancy in February. They continue to work alongside volunteer crews to assist with construction tasks and interior finishes. Within just the last few months, local crews from Higgins Memorial United Methodist, Spruce Pine United Methodist, the NAACP, and the Celo Friends Meeting have helped to make this family’s dream of living in their own home a reality.
Adriana Silva and her son Edwin Lewin and daughter Jamie Lewin working on their new home located at 127 Celo Street in the new Burnsville Habitat neighborhood
As the 21st Mitchell-Yancey Habitat for Humanity house moves toward completion, there is a very special group of volunteers, known as the “Wednesday Crew”, who have been a central part of our housing ministry. Approximately 50 folks over time have worked every Wednesday to provide whatever help is needed on our construction sites.
“Wednesday Crew” members bring an interesting array of experiences to each build. Most members have relocated to Mitchell or Yancey counties from other parts of the country. Some came here to retire and others to begin businesses or other endeavors. They share knowledge and skills from many occupations including: fire fighters, engineers, cabinet-makers, horticultural and agricultural inspectors, pharmacists, community council members, insurance agents, printers, salespersons, & merchants. Surprisingly, only a few previously worked as professionals in the construction trades. Several have also served on the Mitchell-Yancey Board of Directors over time.
The more recent members of the “Wednesday Crew” are listed here. Charlie Foust serves as the M-Y Habitat Construction Supervisor working alongside these volunteers. We would also like to honor deceased members: Ed Bowers, Charlie Dunn, and Gary Ross.
Members from the Wednesday Crew working on the Silva home. From left to right back row: Frank Decker, Charlie Foust, Don Boust, Tom Heimerl, Dale Rose, Jim Swaim. Front row: Charlie Gillespie, Rose and Gary Ray
Current Wednesday Crew: Don Bouret, John Hendricks, Gary Ray, Al Bruce, Alan Higgins, Duke Rose, Lee Coons, Phil Hunsucker, Jim Swaim, Frank Decker, Stinson McCrosky, Don Weeden, John Dover, Carol McCrosky, Walt Wiley, Charles Gillespie, Frank Miller, Thomas Heimerl, and John Nelson
What is most impressive is the spirit of fellowship they have created. “We do this for the pleasure of working with each other in a cooperative environment. We all share our skills and tricks of the trade, mentor each other and help other volunteers, and troubleshoot as a team. No one person is the boss. We just joke and help each other and we can’t remember a harsh word that has ever been spoken”, shares long time members Jim Swaim and Frank Decker. Charles Gillespie states, “It is a pleasure to work with my hands to help someone else. It is very different and so much more personal than writing a donation check.”
Charlie Gillespie finishing interior painting at Silva home.
Group members first came together on Martin Luther King Day in 2000 when M-Y Habitat created a community workday. Over 50 volunteers showed up and several people stepped forward to help guide and support volunteers needing direction. And thus, the Wednesday Crew was born. In the beginning when funds were sometimes sparse and crews worked from hand to mouth, members recall the generous support from community members and businesses donating materials and delaying payments until funds became available. Many of the wives of crewmembers have also been active over the years making curtains and quilts for partner families and cleaning homes after the construction crews finished their work.
Carol McCrosky: measuring and cutting siding for the Silva home.
Mitchell-Yancey Habitat for Humanity is grateful to these folks for their commitment to build homes for our neighbors in need of housing. Our work as a housing ministry has been enhanced by their loving efforts. Thank you to all who have been involved.
If you or others in your family, workplace, church, clubs or organizations would like to be apart of the Habitat for Humanity mission to build homes and change lives, we invite you to join us. Consider volunteering on a build, helping in our ReStore, working on affiliate events or committees, or making a monetary contribution. Call us at (828) 766-9000 and speak with our Volunteer Coordinator, Ann Berdeen.