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Habitat in a hurry

Electrician John Nichols of Oak Harbor’s AA Electric works on Habitat for Humanity’s new home in Northgate Terrace last week. A grand opening for the expedited project will be held June 7 at 4341 Hunter Lane. - Paul Boring / Whidbey News-Times
Electrician John Nichols of Oak Harbor’s AA Electric works on Habitat for Humanity’s new home in Northgate Terrace last week. A grand opening for the expedited project will be held June 7 at 4341 Hunter Lane.
— image credit: Paul Boring / Whidbey News-Times

Habitat for Humanity has through its actions become an American benchmark that serves as a model for other civic organizations and charities.

The most recent home taking shape, located in Northgate Terrace and being built at a seemingly impossible rate, will change the lives of Barbara Fassett and her three daughters. The price is right for the family and the product is first rate.

Habitat affiliates around the country are participating in the “2008 Builder’s Blitz,” an event in which at least 263 homes will be completed in the next seven days, two of them on Whidbey Island.

Although an ambitious goal, not every affiliate in the blitz is holding firm to the seven day timeline as rural issues like septic systems are time killers.

“They started two weeks ago as of Thursday,” said Karan Reed, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Island County, last week at the building site. “They are doing an amazing job.”

Construction specialists like electrician John Nichols of AA Electric and Habitat’s construction site coordinator Ralph Herrera of Emerald Sky Services are not satisfied merely putting up a house. Watching the two men and the rest of the crew work reveals a fastidious attention to detail. Time is of the essence, but quality is a priority.

Putting together a three bedroom, 1,160-square-foot domicile requires logistical scrutiny and precise planning. Nothing can be left to chance. Between a slew of tangible donations and countless volunteers, Reed is thankful that Skagit and Island County Builders Association took on the project.

“There are so many people participating,” she said. “It is incredible. Just staggering.”

SICBA President Scott Yonkman said one of the privileges of being involved in the homebuilding industry is the opportunity to give back to the community.

He and his brother Greg, partners in Yonkman Construction Inc., have not only synchronized the lineup of contractors and sub-contractors, but secured crucial donations of labor and materials.

Visiting the bustling construction site, always in perpetual motion, one is struck by the volunteers’ uncanny ability to keep a genuine smile ready for anyone happening to look their way.

And there are many looking. The construction project never fails to draw a crowd. Some people stop in to check on the progress while others slowly drive by, in awe of the accelerated evolution of the construction project.

“We just want to thank all those who have made this possible,” Reed said. “What normally takes us eight to 10 months to accomplish has been completed in just over two weeks.”

The dedication ceremony for the Fassett’s new home at 4341 Hunter Lane is scheduled for June 7 at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

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