Habitat starts work on 20th home

Laurie Butler shovels dirt on the site of her new home. She is one of the volunteers building Habitat for Humanity’s 20th home on Whidbey Island. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Laurie Butler shovels dirt on the site of her new home. She is one of the volunteers building Habitat for Humanity’s 20th home on Whidbey Island.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Dozens of Kiwanis Club volunteers decided to chip in and give a future homeowner a help up.

They came to Northgate Saturday to help an Oak Harbor woman build her new home.

Laurie Butler is building her home through Habitat for Humanity, and it will be the 20th home the charity has built on Whidbey Island.

The Kiwanis, along with several high school students participating in Key Club, spent the day filling in the building’s foundation and installing the utility infrastructure.

“Right now we’re pretty much on track and on schedule,” said Ralph Herrera, construction coordinator for Habitat for Humanity.

Butler, who works as a customer service representative, currently lives in a duplex on Fort Nugent Road. She said the new 900-square-foot house will be about the same size. However, the new home will provide a place for her children, Dion and Aaron, to play that is safer than a busy road.

As part of the construction process, Butler has to contribute 500 hours of service, with 100 of those spent directly on home construction. She can enlist the aid of friends and family. To help with the time commitment, she also spends time volunteering at the “Restore” on Pioneer Way in Oak Harbor. She said she got involved with Habitat when volunteers built a home in Red Wing.

Habitat has built several homes on North Whidbey Island, most notably the Red Wing development off Heller Road in Oak Harbor, which has six homes built by volunteers. In addition to the new homes, Habitat for Humanity of Island County is selling quality used furniture at its Oak Harbor location.

McCumber said the biggest challenge facing the local Habitat chapter is finding properties on which to build.

Butler’s home is the second one built in Northgate. Prior to being selected for the project, she volunteered with the construction of one of the homes in Red Wing. Even though the time she spent on the previous home didn’t count toward her 500-hour requirement, she said her participation showed initiative that helped with her selection.

The Kiwanis Club chose helping Habitat for Humanity for their one-day service project, said Melissa McCumber, president of the Kiwanis. She also sits on the Habitat board. The day was a way to get the club members and students who participate in Key Club at the high school to help the community.

“It was something that we could do to combine our efforts with the high school and the club,” McCumber said. She added that helping build a home is a great way to help a family, given the sour economy.

Butler said she hopes the house will be completed and ready to move into sometime in August.

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