Da-doo, doo, doo, duh doo doo doo. . . .

Trip Start Nov 26, 2010
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Trip End Nov 18, 2011


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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Thursday, January 13, 2011

The title of today's blog is supposed to be the theme song from the old Andy Griffith tv show.   This week I have been working in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, which is the birthplace and hometown of the aforementioned star.  Mayberry was based on Mt. Airy.  I attempted to get my haircut at Floyd's barbershop, but it was closed on Monday due to the one inch of snow on the ground.  Instead, I went around the corner and had my haircut by Mr. Bill Kassstevens, one of fourteen children and thebarber at that shop for the last 43 years.  He did a good job.  $8.
     I've been working with the Mount Airy Habitat affiliate.  They were organized in 1993 and built their first house in 1995 and averaged one house a year through 2000.  Since then, the momemtum has built and they are now averaging 5 simple, decent homes per year for families who need "a hand up, not a hand out".  To date, they have put almost 30 families in homes, holding 20 year interest free mortgages.  Only one of these had to be forclosed upon due to non- payment.  The construction director is Greg Russo and his wife Sheree works in the office as Director of Operations.  Greg started out volunteering since 2004 and came on as paid staff in Jan of 2010.  That was the first year they built 5 homes.  The office is located in the back of their Re-Store.  The will be moving into a larger 4,000 sq. ft. building next month.
    This week I was working on the future home of Keith and Rhonda Baylor.  We finished two sets of stairs and installed the kitchen cabinets and countertops.  Keith  works in a chicken processing plant that last week processed 150,000 chickens in one day (two shifts of 1300 people).  They have been working down their "sweat equity" hours and are excited about soon becoming homeowners.
       Greg has a small dedicated core of regular volunteers that work on the homes with him.  One is Mr. Phil, who is a licensed electrician, and their 2nd habitat homeowner.  He has since wired all of their homes for free.  Unfortunately, he has lung cancer and is not expected to be with us for much longer.  I also had the pleasure to work with Rob, a dispaced New Jersey yankee and retired special ed teacher who is a regular volunteer also.
     The new Executive Director, Laura Wharton, has just joined the affiliate this past October.  The affiliate was very gracious to me, and have picked up the tab for lodging for my week here at the Quality Inn.
      That's all for now.  Still feeling stunned and numbed over the shootings in Tucson last week.

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