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Rain doesn’t stop home builds

WEST POINT — Despite a rainy day on Monday, an amazing amount of work took place at the two Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project (CFCP) homes being built on Higgins Street in West Point. Work began at 7 a.m. and by noon, the walls were up and the trusses were in. By early afternoon the windows were in and by late afternoon the plywood and felt were on the roof. It took the two teams of volunteers only one day to get it dried in.

“We have the best people working on this project. They don’t fool around,” said CFCP Executive Director Kim Roberts.

Helping place the trusses was an orange lull boom lift from Batson-Cook.

The rain was heavy at times, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the workers at Homes No. 65 and 66.

A.J. Jewell is the house captain for No. 65. According to Roberts, he’s very dependable and has been to numerous home building projects in the past. His co-captains are Bryce Kujat and Doug Stephens. They are building a new home for Latrisha Finley and her two children — son, Jaylin and daughter, Asia.

A total of 17 members of the Bunkertown Baptist Church in McAlisterville, Pennsylvania are doing the needed work for home No. 66. Several weeks ago, they built the sets of walls needed for the new home and shipped them down on a flatbed truck. They were on site and under a dark blue waterproof covering when the work started this morning. Barry Stuck is the house captain of No. 66 and Mike Dressler the co-captain. The house they are building will be for Rita Rowland and her granddaughter, Kennedy. Rowland is a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army.

At a kickoff event Sunday evening at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Roberts and Assistant Director Robin Pierre presented each house captain a red and black Husky rolling tool bag to help them with their work.

The Sunday dinner was attended by Linda Fuller Degelman and David Snell of the Fuller Center for Housing in Americus, Georgia. Degelman and her late husband, Millard Fuller, co-founded the Fuller Center. The Chattahoochee Fuller Center is one of their most active covenant partners.

Degelman said she was glad to be back in the Valley once again and was pleased to see the large crowd gathered inside the Bethlehem fellowship hall.

CFCP President Curt Johnson told the crowd that the organization had recently met a goal Millard Fuller suggested some 15 years ago now. It now has a ReUse Store that’s generating a profit.

“Every dollar that’s earned will go into future projects,” he said. “Jesus wanted us to help each other, and we are doing that though the Fuller Center.”

Johnson ended with a story about two older men sitting together on the front porch in rocking chairs.

“If one of them is always criticizing others and holding himself superior to them and the other one is always thinking about ways to help other people, which one of them do you think is happier?” he asked.

When it was her turn to speak, Roberts said the dinner program was the second time she’d been at Bethlehem on Sunday.

“I was here for the morning worship service and let me tell you, it was great,” she said. “We love Bethlehem, Rev. Dr. Edmondson, Brandon and all the people here.”

“One of our homeowners-to-be, Rita Rowland, was in the Army for 14 years,” Roberts said. “She has never owned her own home, but that’s about to change. Latrisha, Jalen and Asia, your lives are about to change, too.”

Calling him her “big brother,” Roberts asked West Point Mayor Steve Tramell to speak to the people gathered. He welcomed them to West Point and thanked them for helping make a positive difference in the community.

“You all do the work, and we appreciate it, but we couldn’t do what we do without Kim and Robin,” he said.

Roberts recognized John Brown of New Birth Ministries. “

The men from New Birth are so helpful to us,” she said. “We have four to six guys from there helping us all the time. We appreciate you. We love New Birth Ministries.”

New Birth is a home for young men who are recovering from addiction problems and trying to straighten out their lives.

“There’s a lot of hurting people in this world,” Brown said. “A lot of us think we have gone through a lot, but we comprehend what some people are going through.”

The CFCP had a busy year helping the Beauregard community recover from a devastating tornado that killed 22 people.

“We built 18 houses in seven months and two more later on for a total of 20 new homes,” Roberts said. “This is my twelfth year with the Chattahoochee Fuller Center, and we are now ready to build Homes No. 65 and 66. Isn’t that amazing?”

That sentiment drew some loud applause and cheering.

Roberts thanked members of the Point University softball team, who brought the dinner plates to the guests seated at tables.

Plaques were presented to Knauf and West Frazier (Norbord) for their donations. Knauf donated the insulation to both houses, and West Frazier donated the OSB.

West Point Coca-Cola was recognized for providing the drinks for the week-long stay, and 4 Seasons Heating & Air thanked for providing the HVAC units at no charge to the two new homes.

Other sponsors recognized included Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), Takco Construction Eight Days of Hope and a host of local churches including Bethlehem Baptist, West Point First Methodist, West Point First Baptist, West Point Presbyterian, Spring Road Christian, Lanett First Baptist and Plant City Baptist. Also thanked were Tramell and Bill and Martha Scott.

Most of the work should be completed this week on the two new homes. Cross-country bicyclists from the Fuller Center will be in town next week to finish the remaining items on the punch list. The two families should move in around the first of November.