“We are excited to be in Albion. Excited to be doing our first official Veteran project” said Robert Phillips, Executive Director of the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity.
The Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking ceremony which took place on Tuesday morning is of special significance because the house on 1112 Terpenning St is the first in Albion being gutted and remodeled for their Veteran Homeownership Program.
“We are excited to be in Albion. Excited to be doing our first official Veteran project” said Robert Phillips, Executive Director of the Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity. Referring to veterans, he said, “They are the ones that provide me and you and everyone here, freedom. So it’s our way of giving back to people that deserve help.” He continued, “We do a lot of wheelchair ramps in town and throughout the county. This is the first rehab of a home in a while.”
Phillips shared, “I love coming to Albion because of the community. It’s very supportive of Habitat. They’re glad to have us and we’re glad to be here.” The community did come out to celebrate the groundbreaking.
Members of the American Legion such as Albion’s Mayor David Atchison and his wife Corinne, and 3rd Precinct Councilman Al Smith were in attendance. Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Eric Worley, District 7 Calhoun County Gary Tompkins, and Calhoun County Land Bank Authority Executive Director Krista Trout-Edwards were among government and business representatives showing their support for the project.
So what happens, once per year for a week, the week is sponsored by Lowe’s and others such as Homestead Savings Bank.
Phillips pointed out that this week was also special to Habitat for Humanity. “This is Women Build Week which is a big deal in the Habitat World.
So what happens, once per year for a week, the week is sponsored by Lowe’s and others such as Homestead Savings Bank. So we will have the women from the bank building here all week, which is another great thing the community supports.”
We grew up having to do a lot of things ourselves. As a woman, I think it’s important to know how to do things yourself and not necessarily depend on other people,” said Carol Abbee, Homestead Savings Bank Leslie Branch Manager.
The five women from Homestead Savings Bank immediately got to work learning how to tear down a wall after a prayer was offered by Habitat’s Construction Manager Mike King. Two of them shared what this on-the-job training means to them. “Growing up with my mom she taught me to be a very independent person.
We grew up having to do a lot of things ourselves. As a woman, I think it’s important to know how to do things yourself and not necessarily depend on other people,” said Carol Abbee, Homestead Savings Bank Leslie Branch Manager. Ronda Sprague who works at the Albion Branch of Homestead Savings Bank as a mortgage loan originator, explained why she volunteered during Women Build Week.
“I just like to help people and help the community.” She also noted, “I like to apply the techniques I learn to my own life.”
Although the home received essential updates such as a new roof and porch,
some items, such as the wall treatment in the bathroom, was left for the future homeowner, who will be a veteran.
Once the week is over, more volunteers from Battle Creek and Phillips hopes from Albion, will come in to help the two paid Habitat for Humanity Construction workers who guide and teach the volunteers what they need to know to get the house completed in the projected two months or so.
Having new housing in the area is encouraging to Albion’s community leaders.
“We need more housing. We need housing for vets and this project to restore this house and bring it back to the community and make it a house of love and support the community is fantastic, said Mayor Atchison.
As the mayor and American Legion member, he and Councilman Al Smith are assisting in the search for a veteran who will meet the requirements for ownership of this house. The mayor shared the qualifications: “The income levels need to be within 30 to 80 percent of the median income here in the city, a veteran, and to be able to support the mortgage.”
New builds for Albion may also be in the future. “There is actual interest on the part of Habitat for Humanity to do new construction and infill in small lots, so we are looking that as well,” explained Mayor Atchison.
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Pictures by Sylvia Benavidez
This story is reprinted with permission from The Recorder.
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