New home embodies true community spirit

THERE’S AN OLD ADAGE that says “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Recently here in Plymouth, a more appropriate saying might be “It takes a village (or city) to build a home.”

Habitat for Humanity just completed another new home project in Plymouth, turning over the keys to a new house on McColm Street to a grateful – and tearful – Heather Russell and her two sons.

The joyous project, one of so many the group has undertaken here in Sheboygan County and throughout the country, was truly a community effort.

It involved, as all Habitat projects do, local volunteers donating their talents and hours of their time to help provide a new home to a deserving family.

The Russell home brought together a true cross-section of the community and was more than just a feel-good story – it was a true educational experience.

That’s because among the key players in the construction process were Plymouth High School students in the service learning and construction trades classes.

The students were able to take part in a real-life classroom, adding their growing skills to the project and learning alongside other volunteers that included construction professionals and tradespeople. They worked in nearly every phase of the project from to to bottom, literally, including setting floor joists, applying decking, building interior and exterior walls, applying roofing and siding, backfilling the foundation, and installing ceiling fans and trims.

Learning by doing is often the best way to learn and certainly is in this case. Being able to help out someone from their school system – Russell is an educational assistant at Horizon Elementary School and works for Community Education & Recreation in their child-car program – is just an added benefit.

Of course, the high school students were just part of the small army of volunteers who contributed to the effort.

The city of Plymouth donated the lot the home was built on. The list of volunteer workers included the Russells’ extended family and friends, school district officials, IBEW Local 494 electricians, area CEOs, religious leaders, Redeemer Lutheran Church members, and employees from Prevea, Sartori, Van Horn Automotive Group, Kohler Power and Sargento.

From all parts of the community, the corps of volunteers came together and worked side-by-side for nine months to make a dream of a home of their own a reality for the Russell family.

As she accepted the keys to her new home, Heather Russell summed it perfectly by saying, “It’s amazing what one small community can do for three people.” A small community with a big, big heart and real willingness to pitch in and help out, that is.

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