Leader Blues

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TOP STORY >>Couple to get a new home

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Wayne and Wanda Bridges are one Saturday closer to being homeowners thanks to the Lonoke County Habitat for Humanity and its volunteers.

“We’re so happy. We’ve never had a house to call our own before,” Wayne Bridges said.

The Bridges hope to move into their new 900-square-foot home by Sept. 1 after 12 Saturdays of Habitat work on the home.
They have to contribute 300 hours of sweat equity themselves, but as Wayne said, “We don’t mind doing that at all.” The five-year Lonoke residents currently live in the Woodlake Apartments and can’t wait until they can move into their new home.

“We’ll take good care of it and enjoy it,” Wanda Bridges said.

During the first work day volunteers erected all of the exterior wall frames and all but finished the 12 by 12 foot storage building.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished in one Saturday when you get so many people together,” Mary Anne Taft, president of Lonoke County Habitat for Humanity, said. Termed the “Grace House,” the property was donated by Rev. Virgil and Lillie Turner. Those volunteering to help build the home are members of area Lonoke County churches.

“It’s just a bunch of guys and girls from the churches coming together,” Mike Hedges, project director, said.

For many of the volunteers, this isn’t their first time building a home as most of them have traveled with their church on mission trips to aid others in need. Larry Cagwin from South Bend United Methodist Church has helped on a build in Guatemala as well as worked on an orphanage in Hot Springs.

This is his first time to help with a Habitat home, but got on board when he heard about it at church. This is also Roger Huitt’s first Habitat home; he is also from South Bend UMC.

“I’m happy to be here,” Huitt said, “and to be able to help somebody out and contribute something.”

Butch Randolph and his son Aaron were also among those volunteering their time Saturday.

“We came out to get some work done and make sure people have a good place to live,” Aaron Randolph said. David True and his son John of Cabot came out to “try and help those in need of help.”

Because the labor is donated, the Bridges will only have to pay in monthly rent the cost to build their new home. Covenant Termite treated the ground before the construction began; electrician Doug Gates is donating his time to wire the home; West Lake Plumbing donated their time to install the water pipes; Gold Heat and Air is donating time to install the heating and air unit for the home. The Cabot Police Department will be installing the roof on the two-bedroom home when the time comes.

“Its about building relationships and not just homes,” Taft said, adding those who would like to volunteer with Habitat can attend the monthly meetings held at 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of the month at the accounting office of Shelly Russell, 1904 S. Pine St., Suite E, Cabot.

Once the Bridges’ home is completed, a second Habitat house will be built at the rear of the property, bringing Lonoke County’s total of Habitat homes to four, two in Lonoke and two in Cabot.