Workers raise walls for Habitat

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Laurie Kennedy, second from left, invests sweat equity Saturday into a home being built for her by Habitat for Humanity. People throughout the Clovis community helped with raising the walls of the home.

By Tony Gutierrez: CNJ staff writer

Laurie Kennedy helped lift the walls of her new house Saturday morning while her two daughters watched.

The house at 1621 Cameo St. is being built by Habitat for Humanity of Roosevelt and Curry counties. It is the volunteer organization’s second house in Clovis and sixth in the area since it began building in 2002.

Joyce Davis, the local chapter’s executive director, said while preparation work took longer than normal, she hopes construction will go quickly now that the walls are raised.

“It usually takes us about six months to build a house,” Davis said. “I’m hoping now we’ve started, this one will go a little faster.”

Though the construction is done by volunteers, the plumbing, electricity, and heating and air conditioning units need to be installed by licensed professionals. Construction committee chairman Jon Gove said 80 to 85 percent of volunteers come from Cannon Air Force Base.

“When I was in the service, it was a stress-reliever to come out and take out all my frustration on a piece of wood,” Gove said.

Gary Rhode, a retired police officer from Clovis, drove in the stakes for the house’s braces and said his favorite part of working at the sites is doing the framework.

“This is my hobby because it’s what I like to do,” Rhode said. “It makes me feel good because I’m helping people. All the big stuff is fun, plus you’re working with a great bunch of guys.”

Habitat for Humanity does not give houses for free. People apply for them and must meet certain criteria. They must qualify for a no-interest loan, be in need of a house because of an inadequate living situation, and put in 50 hours with the organization before their house is started and work a total of 500 hours.

“You have to work for it and that’s something I always believe in,” Kennedy said. “You work for the things that’s given to you.”

Kennedy is living with her parents to save money. She and her daughters have promoted Habitat for Humanity at North Plains Mall and provided a meal for the workers, which applies to their hours. Kennedy applied for the house in August 2006.

“I actually get to participate in the building of my own house,” Kennedy said. “Anything that promotes Habitat works toward my hours because not everybody has the skills to build a house. I told her (Habitat’s office manager) I’ll be in the building.”