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Volunteers to rebuild Rouzerville house

June 15, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. -- Donna Rook thought about her mother's Sunday cooking and the eight children raised in her home as wrecking equipment tore into the house at the intersection of Beartown and Mentzer Gap roads on Monday.

She described her emotion as "happy sad" because the loss was coupled with knowledge that a safer, more comfortable house will soon replace it.

Volunteers from area churches will descend on the property in coming weeks to build a 24-by-36-foot house for Rook. In this one, she'll be able to sleep in the bedroom, something she hasn't been able to do for fear the roof would collapse.

"It's going to be the house God and my angels built," Rook said.

She credits her late mother, Beulah Rook, for talking to God about needs within the approximately 90-year-old wooden house. Rook initially contacted the Chambersburg Project for roof repairs, but the situation pressed itself on the hearts of several people.


Volunteers, mostly adults, plan to work evenings and weekends so Rook can move in around July 12, which is the first day of the official Chambersburg Project. The organization hosts a weeklong work camp every summer for youths to repair Franklin County homes for people in need.

Chambersburg Project volunteer Ken Haines said contractors evaluated the house earlier this year.

"We came to the conclusion there wasn't anything we could do but rebuild," he said.

Rook was born in the house's living room and moved back in 2000 to care for her mother. She invested $5,000 to install indoor plumbing as a gift to her mother.

But the roof leaks, and the mold and insulation issues continued, as did her own medical problems.

"'Thank you' is too small of a word to say. This is beyond my belief," Rook said.

Eighty-five people from Otterbein Church volunteered to help with framing on June 27, according to Dirk Small, a pastor there.

"It just seemed to be a shoo-in, the right thing to do locally," he said.

Haines and fellow volunteer Greg Glunt said almost $30,000 needed to be raised for the project. They shared gratitude for smaller contractors who responded with donations of materials and time.

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