Jordan Schisel, left, determines the length of a cut during the Central Whidbey Hearts & Hammers’ annual work day Saturday, May 6, 2017 in Coupeville. The volunteer nonprofit group participated in 18 different projects to help their Central Whidbey neighbors Saturday. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Sun shines on Central Whidbey Hearts & Hammers

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, a small group gathered at a home tucked in the woods just outside Coupeville and built a new all-weather deck.

The deck was one of 18 projects tackled by Central Whidbey Hearts &Hammers on its annual work day.

With the sun shining on her face, Alison Wells could now clearly envision how such a structure will benefit her family this summer, particularly her husband Jesse Wells, who is undergoing a medical procedure later this month and will need time to recover.

The old deck had rotted and had to be taken down. The new one will give the Wells an ideal vantage point to watch their two elementary-school aged daughters play in the backyard.

“It’s enormous for my heart,” Alison Wells said. “Without this, we wouldn’t be able to have a deck.”

Central Whidbey Hearts &Hammers is a volunteer group that dedicates the first Saturday of May each year to help those in the community who need them most.

Several members of the group are building professionals who donate their services and skills on what would normally be a day off from their jobs.

At the Wells’ home, John Schisel and his son Jordan Schisel from Coupeville-based Schisel Construction led the project.

“They have little kids,” John Schisel said. “We just figured a nice big deck would work best for them.”

Lots of people pitched in, including Alison Wells.

“I just learned how to use a drill today for the first time,” she said.

Central Whidbey Hearts &Hammers doesn’t charge homeowners for their work and instead relies on the community for donations.

The Central Whidbey group started in 2009, following the lead of the original group from South Whidbey that began in 1994.

“This is really about building community,” said Wilson Binger, president of Central Whidbey Hearts &Hammers.

Projects included gutter cleaning, building ramps for wheelchairs and clearing brush and other debris.

All dump fees from the efforts of both Hearts &Hammers groups from the joint work day were waved by Island County, Binger said.

“The county is very generous to both groups,” Binger said.