The Habitat for Humanity 100-hour house build in Three Hills planned for this summer as part of the town's centennial celebrations got a rousing endorsement last Thursday at an information night at the lodge room in Three Hills Community Centre.
A small but enthusiastic crowd heard about the project from its genesis as an idea from the Elks of Canada marketing committee, its promotion by the Three Hills Elks and Habitat's Red Deer affiliate to its heartfelt acceptance by the Three Hills Town Council on behalf of the people of the town.
People learned the details of the house construction, official opening, fundraising ventures and how to volunteer.
Mayor Tim Shearlaw chaired the informal gathering, exulting in the enthusiasm of the meeting and anticipating that "the excitement will be growing as the project takes place over the next few months."
Before announcing future fundraising endeavours, the mayor introduced Cynthia DeBoer of the Red Deer Habitat affiliate, Elks coordinator Ken Komarnisky, Habitat site supervisor Tim Callaghan and Three Hills electrician and Elks stalwart Byrne Lammle. Callaghan and Lammle will supervise the project from its March groundbreaking to the end of the 100-hour build on June 25.
"We have been overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of the town council and the people of Three Hills," DeBoer said. "We are thrilled to have selected a wonderful family here who will purchase and live in this new home."
She explained that Habitat families pay a market-value interest-free mortgage to the Habitat for Humanity organization and those payments go toward building additional houses for deserving families.
"These are working, productive families who are getting a hand-up and not a handout as they buy and live in their own houses. They pay utilities and taxes just like the rest of us," she said.
While the family has been selected, it will not be announced until early June, she explained.
"This spirit of cooperation with the Elks, Habitat and the town is valuable to all of us as it helps us continue to fulfil our mission," she said.
Lammle outlined the time frame for erecting the three-bedroom, one-bath house.
The hole will be dug and foundation put in in March, Lammle said. The floor, walls and roof structure will be prefabricated in warehouse space and trucked to the site in time for the beginning of construction in June.
He named some of the numerous contractors and volunteers who will participate in the build, ranging from Larry Gall, who will excavate the basement, to Kneehill County providing the gravel and other materials, LPR Concrete, Byrne's Electric, the Town of Three Hills, Quigley Construc-tion and the list went on.
The various job functions and stages of construction will be outlined in detail in The Capital as the project progresses so people can volunteer where they feel they can help the most.
People who cannot volunteer can still participate in the venture by attending the food tent right across from the building site.
Every day during the 100 hours of construction (basically seven 14-hour days) the food tent will provide coffee and sweets so people can sit back and watch the action. Each day will be sponsored by a different business or individual although participants can still donate to the build through a voluntary donation box.
So far all the banks in town and the Three Hills Elks Lodge have volunteered and others may do so by contacting Phil Johnson at 403-443-7069. There will be Elks on site every day as food gofers for the workers on site and to assist volunteers with the coffee crowd.
"This project has generated a lot of interest already, but watch how much fun people are going to have with it," the mayor said. "Every Friday at lunchtime for the next 20 weeks or so there will be sponsored barbecue fundraisers at the Three Hills General Store. All of the sponsors are in place, but we'll need volunteers every Friday to cook and clean up and all the proceeds will go to the Habitat fund."
On Friday, June 22, during the build, the barbecue lunch will be held at the food tent and that particular day will be sponsored by the Three Hills Elks.
The mayor also spoke of a second municipally supported fundraiser to be held at Mount Olive Evangelical Free Church on Saturday, April 28, when Three Hills native Robert deFrece brings his University of Alberta Mixed Chorus and Faculty of Handbell Ringers Spring Tour to town.
Elks Habitat coordinator Komarnisky, always a source of inspirational discourse, told the crowd last Thursday about how Elks across Alberta pulled together to buy a construction trailer-office for the Habitat affiliate.
"It was the same type of cooperation and spirit we see right here in Three Hills and it gives us all a good feeling to see this taking place during the town's centennial and the 100th anniversary of the Elks of Canada."
Komarnisky and Elks of Canada Manager Of Member Services Garnet Roth will be on hand for the entire 100 hours of the project.
"To say we are excited is an understatement," Komarnisky said. "This will help promote Three Hills and the Elks while most importantly helping a family. And that is what we are all about as an organization – helping communities and helping families."
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