Habitat 'RVers' Make Annual Visit
Eighteen folks who drive recreational vehicles have returned to Moore County from all over the East Coast and Canada to help Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills rehab a house for a deserving family.
This is the 12th year for John and Carol Covert, of Bethlehem, Pa., who were here for the first build in 2000. Jack and Polly Paterek have come for the last 11 years and are the organizers of this unique and fun adventure.
“Many of us have come so often that we’ve become family to each other,” Polly says, “and that’s how the invitation goes out — come to a family reunion!”
However, the main purpose of the invite is to help the local Habitat affiliate build at least one home during their two-week stay, which they’ve done annually in all parts of Moore and even one in Richmond County during the past 12 years.
This year is different in that they’re updating a home built during the ’96 “blitz” in Taylortown. This home came back to Habitat when the original family outgrew the three-bedroom home for the number of children they adopted or fostered. Their success allowed them to buy a larger home.
Habitat then used the home to house a stream of AmeriCorps personnel, who volunteered with the affiliate for a year or two. Recently, it was rented by the construction manager and his family until they found a permanent home.
So it’s been well-loved by its numerous owner/tenants. Now it needs updating — energywise.
In one short week, this energetic and experienced group has already replaced the windows, deck and siding, added insulation, caulked all areas that air could be seeping in, removed the carpet and flooring, and painted the interior.
“Who knows what else we’ll accomplish for Habitat during our last week here,” said Nancy Dile, a third-year returnee who brought four friends with her from Florida.
“We’ve done this work to make the house as energy-efficient as possible, so the future homeowner has a low monthly electric bill of about $40,” said Stephanie Gray, from Swanton, Md.
“With all the RV group’s experience, we only have to provide materials and tell them the overall goals, rather than teach them each step,” Habitat staff members said. “This goes back to our original roots of volunteers doing the work on site.”
Moore County businesses support these RVers, as they do the regular Habitat volunteers on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, by providing lunch daily. This year, Basco Sandwich and Catering Co., Chili’s, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Golden Corral and Hickory Tavern, along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, fourth-floor medical nurses at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and The Village Chapel, prepared the noon meal for these workers.
“We always know we’re going to be well-fed during this fortnight,” Canadian Carell Harder said.
The lucky homeowner for this energy-efficient home that has an established landscape is Ardrenna Thomas, whose church, Prayer Praise Cathedral in Aberdeen, will also be bringing lunch this week. Thomas is holding down two jobs.
This is one example of a home being “recycled” to Habitat.
“We’ve had only four foreclosures in almost 200 houses that we’ve built and mortgaged since our founding in 1988,” said Elizabeth Cox, executive director of the local Habitat affiliate. “When one does become available, it gets updated by code and ‘resold’ to a qualified buyer who is willing to partner with Habitat.”
Anyone needing more information about becoming a homeowner, volunteer or donor can call the Habitat office at (910) 295-1934 or visit its website at www.sandhillshabitat.org.
“It will be one of the most rewarding things you do,” said Cassie Blake, another longtime returning RVer.
“See you next year,” yelled Ron Lerch, from Easton, Pa.
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