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Volunteers build Martinsburg Habitat house in a blitz

September 25, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- "House No. 27" has red doors, black shutters on light gray siding and a splash of pink and blue among its three bedrooms.

In a "blitz" of work over three days, the latest project of Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle along Twigg Drive in Martinsburg was put under roof, painted, hammered and chiseled into form.

The future home of Octavia Combs of Falling Waters, W.Va., and her two daughters - Nicole, 13, and Genesis, 5 - is scheduled to be dedicated at noon Friday, according to Al Means, Habitat for Humanity's executive director.

Landscaping and interior finishing of the 1,059-square-foot rancher is expected to continue today, Means said.

The not-for-profit ecumenical Christian organization's third "blitz build" home construction project is the 27th since the Eastern Panhandle chapter of the international organization was incorporated 15 years ago, Means said.

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"We're well ahead of schedule," Means said. "We've eliminated problems that we've had in the past and it just seems to be flowing well."

"The point of this whole operation shows what a community can do when it comes together to build an affordable house," Means said while showing what was done to ready the new home's concrete foundation in the graveled crawl space.

"And, in my mind, if we can build one house in a week, why can't we as a community build 50 houses in a year."

The house is budgeted to cost about $65,000.

The bottom line has been helped by donated labor, equipment and construction materials by several contractors, home improvement suppliers and volunteers. Those volunteers included Shepherd University students and others who have been helped by Habitat for Humanity, Means said.

The home is the last of six homes to be built along Twigg Drive, where Habitat for Humanity was given a land donation previously eyed for town houses.

On the job site Tuesday, Habitat for Humanity received a check from the West Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund for $162,172, which Means said will help pay to build homes on land in the Race and Boston streets area of Martinsburg.

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