New Castle News

May 20, 2013

Making a Difference: Volunteers put up home for young mother, son in three days

Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Blitz was on this weekend in New Castle.

Habitat for Humanity had a “Blitz Build” for its latest Lawrence County house at the corner of Newell and Madison avenues in Mahoningtown. Over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, concrete block was laid for the basement, the ground floor was constructed, the roof was built and walls went up.

Finally, the roof was lifted into place.

By Saturday afternoon, the main frame of Habitat’s 21st Lawrence County home was standing and brimming with all the promise and hope that the future holds for its soon-to-be owner.          

Amber Norman, the future occupant, was beside herself with joy, watching the house take shape and helping in the construction wherever she could.

“This is crazy,” she said, “I can’t fully comprehend it all yet. Watching the walls go up, seeing the roof put on, it’s all so exciting. It means so much for me and my son, (6-year-old Jayden).

“We finally will have a permanent place to live. I can fully start my life now.”

 Sheree Cunningham, the executive director of Habitat in Lawrence County, said that there had been between 20 and 25 volunteers each of the three days of the Blitz build process, in addition to those who prepared and provided lunches, offered devotions every morning and a performed a host of other tasks related to the build.

“Lawrence County Habitat for Humanity is so grateful for all the volunteers who give of their time and talent, come out here and work, so that a family can have a simple decent, affordable home of their own,” Cunningham said.

Volunteers came from across the region to help in the construction process, each with his or her own reasons for wanting to be a part of the build.

Sharon Wagner of New Castle was volunteering at her second Habitat build. She said she comes out because she enjoys the build process, and she wants to do something useful with her time.

Debbie Boyd from New Wilmington is a veteran of Habitat house builds, this being her fourth. She said her involvement comes from the desire to have “helping hands.”

“I want to be involved in my community, and have something positive and beneficial to do,” she explained.

Just two doors down from the newly constructed house lives Habitat rookie Amanda Wilson, a full-time student at Youngstown State University. As she swung her hammer to pound in nails for the walls, she said that she wanted to be a part of something good for her own neighborhood.

“It is awesome to have a new neighbor and more kids in the neighborhood.” said Wilson, a young mother herself.

Chad Weatherbee is the project manager for this, his fourth build.

“I am always overwhelmed by the amount of support and things we get donated,” he said. “We always just get so much donated. Ken Shiderly Construction dug the basement for free. Pressure Seal has donated the insulation for Habitat houses for 20 years now. Ed Stevens Masonry did all our block work. Lear Crane donated the crane that will lift the roof into place and the operator to safely operate it.

“We are just so appreciative of all our supporters and their help.”

No one, though, was more appreciative than Norman as she watched the roof go onto the house and snapped pictures. She just couldn’t say thank you enough.

“I just want everyone to know how thankful I am to everyone,” she said. “There are a lot of volunteers out here helping out. It means a lot to me that everybody came out to do this all for me.”