House recipient Carrie Williams' uncle, Terence Smith, gifted her his property on Oak Street where a house once stood. Newer houses dot the open area near Roseburg Forest Products, where the Boles Fire swept through in 2014, destroying much of the neighborhood.
Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity broke ground in Weed with a blessing, introductions and a presentation from Mechanics Bank on Saturday.
House recipient Carrie Williams’ uncle, Terence Smith, gifted her his property on Oak Street where a house once stood. Newer houses dot the open area near Roseburg Forest Products, where the Boles Fire swept through in 2014, destroying much of the neighborhood.
Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity, with the help of many volunteers and donations, is building Williams, a Weed native, and her two sons, Jayvon and Jaxson, a three bedroom, two bath house on the property. Representatives from all three branches of Mechanics Bank came to present a $2,500 donation to board members of Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity at the site of the family’s future home.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity and we’re looking forward to more volunteer opportunities,” said Niki West, Mechanics Bank customer service manager at the Yreka branch.
In the Boles Fire, Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity lost its office and warehouse but that didn’t slow them down. This is the fourth house they have built since the Boles Fire.
Since Pat Zwanziger established the Siskiyou chapter of Habitat for Humanity in 1988, they have built nine homes. This will be the tenth, according to Executive Director Pat Vela.
Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator Brenda Duchi said they have accumulated more than 20,000 hours of volunteer time building new houses since the fire. They have teamed up with United Way in asking for volunteers.
“We always need volunteers. They don’t need to be skilled; they will learn as they work on the projects,” Duchi explained.
One of the programs Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity uses for recruiting volunteers is the collegiate challenge, where students from different colleges volunteer to do some of the ground work, usually over spring break. From March 25 to 29, eight students came from the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to help with the foundation of Carrie Williams’ house.
Harry Shannon, a licensed contractor also on the board of Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity said that it takes an average of 18 months to build a new house.
All the board members of Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity are volunteers for the nonprofit 501c3 organization. Each house has to be fully funded before starting construction.
Williams had to wait two years for Saturday’s groundbreaking and there are four more people on the waiting list. Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity is not taking any more applications until they get additional funding.
Leon Thompson, a retired Presbyterian minister, Rotarian and volunteer board member for Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity gave a blessing at the presentation, saying, “We are building a house. When Carrie and the children move in, it will be a home. When founder Millard Fuller started the Habitat for Humanity, he built it on Christian principals. Millard wanted people to have a home when there is no chance to have one in their lives.”
CJ Bouche, a recipient of a Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity home seven years ago now volunteers and is a board member.
“You learn a lot and you meet a lot of really good people volunteering,” Bouche said. “We are always looking for more volunteers. Any amount of time people can volunteer is helpful.”
“I’d like to thank Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity, Mechanics Bank, the City of Weed and everyone else who has helped in this process,” said Williams.
To volunteer or make a donation, visit www.habitatsiskiyou.org or go to Siskiyou Habitat for Humanity Facebook where you can also make donations, or call Brenda Duchi at (530) 598-1966 to volunteer.