October 20, 2019

Volunteers needed to complete Habitat for Humanity home - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Volunteers needed to complete Habitat for Humanity home

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019 3:48 pm

Loren Budahl was watching on Tuesday afternoon as a group of volunteers worked to Sheetrock the ceilings at 522 Silver Creek Circle. When the house is completed, his daughter and granddaughter will make it their home.

"Brianna hasn't been able to get in here," he commented.

Brianna Friesz, Budahl's granddaughter, has cerebral palsy and traverses the world in a wheelchair. Through a screening process, she and her mother Diane Friesz, a special education paraprofessional with the Madison Central School District, were chosen as the homeowners for the first Habitat for Humanity house to be constructed in Madison in recent years.

At the June 2018 ground-breaking, they were looking forward to moving into their wheelchair-accessible home. However, weather conditions slowed construction. With the wet fall, the concrete apron for the garage couldn't even be poured, which would have given Brianna access.

"She's anxiously waiting for that concrete apron so she can come in," Budahl said.

Diane Friesz said it's more a matter of Brianna having easy access to the house. With the help of volunteers, she was able to enter the house once last fall through a neighbor's yard with an improvised ramp.

Despite the delays and being unable to enter the house at the present time, Brianna has not become discouraged.

"She has such a good attitude. She never complains," Friesz said.

However, Brianna is anxious to be on site, earning sweat equity. One way she may help is by tracking volunteers who are working, according to Friesz. To date, her sweat equity in the project has involved sorting and packaging donated hardware for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Brookings.

Friesz has been earning sweat equity by helping to carry materials when volunteers are working, by cleaning up the site at the end of a workday, and by providing snacks. With the plumbing, wiring and HVAC system in place, the house is steadily moving toward completion.

This week, crews from Wells Fargo are installing the Sheetrock. Keith Miller, ag and business banker in the Madison branch, said volunteers from Madison, Brookings and Sioux Falls will be helping.

He explained that employees are paid for up to 16 hours of volunteer service per year and can sign up to help at an event through a company portal. On Tuesday, several of the volunteers had some building experience.

"I've built two houses in the past," Miller said, indicating he worked on construction in high school.

Service Manager Mike Trimble said he has helped with a Habitat Brush for Kindness project, which involves doing minor exterior repairs to a qualifying home and painting it. Zach Gallegos of Sioux Falls also did construction work when he was younger.

"It's nice to get back to it," he said.

Trever Shelden, a construction manager with the Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity, was on-site supervising the volunteers. He said that once the Sheetrock is hung, the finishing work will be done -- trim, cabinets, electrical fixtures, flooring and painting.

"If all goes right, we're looking at finishing the home by the end of September," he said.

Both Friesz and Brianna are excited about the progress being made. "It's starting to seem a little more real," Friesz said.

Thus far, they haven't made specific plans for decorating, but they are definitely conducting research.

"We've been looking at things on Pinterest and watching shows on HGTV," she reported.

Volunteers will be needed to continue the work. Currently, volunteers are being asked to contact Jake McGlade, volunteer coordinator with Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity, to schedule a time to work.

Clint Hall of Hall Construction is the lead contractor and will be supervising work on Saturdays. Currently, four workdays have been scheduled in June, according to McGlade. These include the first, second, fourth and fifth Saturdays of the month. No work is scheduled for June 15. Work hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Groups of five or more who are able to work a minimum of four hours can schedule a time to work during the week, McGlade said. Shelden or another Brookings staff member will be on site to supervise.

For construction, volunteers must be age 18 or older. Once painting begins, younger volunteers can become involved, McGlade indicated.

McGlade can be reached at 605-697-2540.

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