GMC News

UC Students Help Build Habitat Home

Volunteers turn out for Grantville’s first Habitat home
By Leo A. Hohmann, The West Georgia Beacon Newspaper

About 30 freshmen students from Georgia Millitary College invaded Grantville on Saturday morning.

By 8:30 a.m. they had descended on a small plot of land on Grady Smith Street with hammers and nails. They brought little or no experience for the job set out before them. Just a willing heart and a desire to learn.

They arrived as volunteers to frame up a new Habitat for Humanity Home on the lot at 146 Grady Smith St. in the mill village. The lot was donated to Habitat by Grantville businessman Jim Sells.

Sarah Bell, a slender teenager with blonde hair, held a hammer with two hands and doggedly pounded a 16-penny nail into a two-by-four header. She smiled when the nail, after countless strikes of the hammer, finally disappeared into the two-by-four without bending. Two other volunteers cheered her on as the nail slowly sank into the wood, and tiny droplets of perspiration formed on her brow with nearly every swing.

An older group of ladies shoveled dirt — turned into slimy red mud by the heavy rains that fell the night before — into a wheel barrel and hauled it to a low spot in the back of the foundation.

Some volunteers were stronger, some more experienced in construction techniques, but none more aptly summed up the spirit of the morning as the teenage girl and the ladies shoveling mud.

“The key thing with this many people on the job site is safety,” said Bob Peebles, vice president of Habitat’s Coweta County Chapter. “It’s muddy this morning and people will be slipping and sliding.”

Peebles said about 20 percent of the volunteers on the Grantville job site had experience building a home. Habitat aims to have the home completed before Christmas. It was framed in by the end of the day Saturday, thanks to the big turnout of volunteers, mostly from GMC’s Union City campus. The students were fulfilling volunteer credit hours required by the college’s freshmen ethics class.

Their teacher, Joe Milford, who lives in Moreland, looked like a proud papa Saturday morning.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Milford said. “I’m just so proud of what they’re doing.”

Milford and another school official talked about how they expected seven or eight students to show up on a Saturday morning, not 30. “And they did it without a reminder,” he said.

The home on Grady Smith will mark the 29th Habitat house built in Coweta County over the past 17 years. It’s the first in Grantville.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer should call Leslie Merriman, executive director of the local Habitat chapter, at 770-252-4064.

Habitat is also looking for vacant lots in the Grantville area to use for future builds. Anyone interested in donating a lot may also call Merriman.