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Work campers help homeowners in need

August 19, 1999

Work CampBy MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




The sound of hammering on the roof above Delores Binkley's bed was music to her ears Monday as a crew of volunteers put new shingles on her home at 7538 McClellan Road in Fairplay.

"God will bless them for this," Binkley said, resting up after watching the workers at her home all morning.

Her project is one of 10 being undertaken this year by the Washington County Work Camp, which has been helping homeowners fix up their homes for 23 years.

With donations of 500 hours of labor and about $1,600 for materials, the crews this year are taking on jobs ranging from caulking, replacing railings, scraping and painting, and fixing termite damage to putting on a new roof.

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"Volunteers come from all areas ... from a 77-year-old to high school students getting community service hours to a 12-year-old," said Richard Willson, director of housing and community development for Washington County.

This is the second year that the work camp has joined forces with REACH, the Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

That connection got help for Binkley this summer.

"It all started when my mom called the Commission on Aging to get someone to mow her grass," said daughter Patti Mark.

While no commission volunteers were available for mowing, Binkley was referred to REACH. Her conversation with that organization led to the work camp assignment.

"Then it all happened so fast," Mark said.

In addition to installing new roofing paper and shingles, the crews will work on Binkley's bathroom, where a floor has weakened.

Pam Senz and her son, Bryan, were among the workers Monday. Veterans of similar endeavors in Haiti and Guatemala, the mother and son volunteered for the Binkley project closer to home.

Mike Simane and his preteen daughter, Hanna, were also on the job Monday. The Simane and Senz families are affiliated with Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg.

Binkley, 68, has heart problems. Her family includes four children, including Mark, and another daughter, Denise, who were helping out Monday.

"These people are great," Mark said. She and her sister went out and got them lunch on the first day of work.

Binkley agreed.

"This gives hope to people that there are people who care," Binkley said.

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