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Opinion

DuPont, Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity work together on Morris home

Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity volunteers proudly welcomed DuPont employees for a special work day recently.

Seven employees and their guests traveled to Grundy County as part of a new partnership to provide labor and a generous grant of $15,000 to our local affiliate. With hospitality support from the Morris Woman’s Club and Cub Scout Pack 480, the group ended the day fulfilled by their work and in awe of our spirit of community.

Dressed for the cold and eager to make a difference, the DuPont team was welcomed by Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Elena Cabral, future homeowner Kathleen Elsen and three volunteer leaders. Construction manager Derrick Wren, crew leader Arnie Brewer and safety competent person Dave Way offered a short training and personal protection gear in preparation for cutting lumber and using other power tools. The group was divided into two and set to work under the leadership of Arnold and Derrick. Whether first-timers grasping a nail gun or veteran DIYers, each person was provided supervised training and hands-on support throughout the day.

By morning’s end, the group had constructed and raised the four walls for Kathleen’s one-car garage at the future home she will share with her 10-year-old son, Patrick. Their home is the fifth under construction in the Hancock Page Subdivision on North Street in Morris. The Elsens are excited to finally have a yard, a space to be active and to enjoy simple things like riding bikes around their neighborhood. The garage is an important part of the life they have been dreaming about.

While their hearts already were warmed by having watched the concrete slab transform into a framed building, a hot lunch of soup and sandwiches from the Morris Woman’s Club followed. DuPont employees, Habitat volunteers and Kathleen huddled around the garage to enjoy soup and sandwiches. Through a shared meal and purpose, strangers enjoyed fellowship and forged friendships.

Before concluding the workday, Kathleen’s mother drove Patrick to the construction site, where he offered his thanks and homemade treats made by himself and his fellow Cub Scouts as part of a service project. The cookies and brownies sealed the group’s interest in returning for a spring work day.

Their experience was symbolic of the way a Habitat home comes together. First, a family is chosen to become the partner, through which they work alongside volunteers and make affordable, no-interest mortgage payments when the home is complete. Their payments help fund future families’ homes.

Donors – individuals, businesses and grantors like DuPont – help purchase materials, tools, permits and other needs. A three-bedroom home can cost Habitat $90,000 or more to construct. Discounted labor is provided by specialized services and contractors.

At the heart of it all are the volunteers. They serve on the board and committees, lead the crews, provide the meals, plan the events and raise their hands for work to advance the Habitat mission.

If your business or organization is interested in a special experience like this one, contact Habitat at 815-942-1452 or elena@grundy3rivershabitat.org.

• Julie Wilkinson is the board president of Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity.

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