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Habitat's Women Build begin work on house

May 01, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • The volunteers of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County's Women Build program gather on the site where a new home will be built on Park Drive in Boonsboro.
Colleen McGrath, Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO -- Mother's Day came early for Kim Clever.

There was no special dinner, no gifts or flowers.

But there was a ribbon -- the one she and her husband, Dusty, snipped Saturday morning to officially mark the beginning of construction on their new home.

It was a dream the couple never thought would come true. Now, standing amid shovels and piles of dirt and rocks, it was a reality.

In a few months, Dusty and Kim Clever, along with their 14-year-old son, Dusty Jr., will move into a house on Park Drive that they, and an army of volunteers, will help build.

"This is so incredible," Kim said. "We are truly blessed."

The Clevers' home is a project of Women Build, a program of Habitat for Humanity of Washington County.

Through the program, women from all walks of life learn construction skills and then use those skills to build affordable houses.

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Saturday's groundbreaking was part of National Women Build Week, which is May 1 to 9, said Kathy Powderly, director of development for the local Habitat organization.

The event, which leads up to Mother's Day, challenges women across the country to devote at least one day to the effort of eliminating poverty housing.

Powderly said the week is sponsored by Lowe's in partnership with Women Build.

Lowe's is committing more than $1 million to the national effort as part of its five-year, $20 million pledge to Habitat for Humanity. Powderly said Lowe's donated $35,000 toward the Boonsboro house.

Maureen Theriault, a volunteer with Women Build, said teachers, nurses, businesswomen and retirees are among those who volunteer with the local women's group, which was organized five years ago.

The Boonsboro house will be the fifth build for the group, she said.

Many of the volunteers were on hand Saturday morning to help the Clevers celebrate their big day.

The house is expected to be completed by this fall.

Surrounded by well-wishers, the Clevers said they felt very fortunate to be part of the Habitat program.

"We've wanted a home of our own for a long time," Kim Clever said. "We began making plans to buy a house several years ago. But when the economy broke, we couldn't get a loan."

Kim said her husband was self-employed and saw a downturn in his business and though she also has a job, "it wasn't enough to help us buy a house."

Kim said the couple, who have been renting a house in Maugansville, began to think they would never become homeowners.

But they continued to cling to their dream.

After talking with a woman who owned a Habitat house, the couple contacted the local nonprofit organization, filled out the paperwork and eventually were notified that they qualified for a house.

They now will begin their 400 hours of sweat equity -- or labor -- which is a mandatory part of being a Habitat homeowner.

But that's something both Kim and her husband are looking forward to.

"In fact, I'll continue to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity long after our house is finished," she said. "They are a great bunch of people who make such a difference in people's lives. I want to be a part of that."

Dusty Clever said the family will have to downsize from their current 1,700 square feet of living space to 1,100 square feet in their new home.

"But that's OK," he said. "We're going to have a place of our own. What's really exciting is that everything will be new -- a new stove, a new refrigerator. I've always had to fix up old stuff."

The couple's son, Dusty Jr., said he's excited about the opportunity to make new friends. He also is looking forward to going to Boonsboro High School in two years after graduating from Mount Aetna Adventist Elementary School.

Kim Clever said there were no words to describe how excited the family was on Saturday.

"This is a memory we'll never forget for the rest of our lives," she said. "The Lord has blessed us."

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