Early Saturday morning, the usual quiet of the Third Avenue neighborhood was broken as work crews and equipment began arriving just after 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., the area was swarming with people in white hard hats and green t-shirts. They were there to participate in the Seneca Home Builders Association's "extreme build" to construct a home for Seneca Habitat for Humanity.
One of the green "builder" shirts belonged to Pat DeMonte, director of Tiffin Seneca County United Way.
"It's amazing to see all the companies come together... as a team," she observed.
PHOTOS BY MIKE MASELLA
Board by board, Seneca County Home Builders put up a new Habitat for Humanity home Saturday at 252 Third Ave. The weather was clear and sunny for the “extreme build” that commenced at 7 a.m. and concluded around 7 p.m.
Joe Swora, executive director for Seneca Habitat, said more than six months of planning was finally coming to fruition. The final delivery of supplies took place Thursday. Swora spouted statistics he had noted as he made his way around the build site.
"I got here about 6:20 (a.m.) and Rich (Zeis) was already out here, along with a couple others. By my clock, the first nail was driven at 6:48. About 7:45, the floor joists were about ready so they could put the sheeting on the deck," Swora said. "Like every other home here, it's Energy Star compliant, low-flow fixtures installed. It's going to be awesome."
In addition to SCHBA members, several Habitat builders and board members were contributing wherever needed. The soon to be owner of the home, Chailee Briihl, was helping out and shooting photographs. Her son, who is not yet two years old, was with his grandparents so his mother could be at the construction site.
"I'm very blessed, me and my son, to have this home. I am so thankful for the community coming together and helping build our house. It's amazing," Briihl said.
"They put the first wall up and I cried," she added.. It's an amazing feeling, overwhelming, exciting. I've been here since 7 and I'm not leaving."
She said a friend of the family told her about Habitat. Late in 2010, she completed an application that was processed over a six-month period. In April 2011, she was approved. While putting in her sweat equity, Briihl learned a number of skills, including painting, caulking nail holes and putting covers on electrical outlets. These will be useful for maintaining her residence.
"The guys teach you everything. They know that you're not really experienced, but they like to see you out helping," Briihl said. "They love doing this, and it makes you excited to be here ... It's very inspirational."
The new owner said she has not chosen any colors for the interior, as yet. Interior decorating is not her forte, she said, but she will have time to shop and get ideas from some of the other homes. The houses are of similar styles but each has its own distinctive features.
"I'm also thrilled about all the great neighbors I'm going to have. They've been very welcoming," Briihl said. "This is a big achievement for me ... my son will be able to have a nice house."
Rich Zeis, who coordinated the blitz build, said he counted 81 volunteers at 10:30 a.m. Initially, they were expecting 100 volunteers, but after Tuesday's news article, people kept calling each day offering to help.
"We had to go out and buy another 30 hard hats. We started with 115 ..." Zeis said. "We'll definitely run short of shirts."
At the end of the day, the total was about 120 volunteers. The project actually finished about three hours earlier than anticipated. By 7 p.m., The entire exterior of the home - walls, floor, roof, siding, doors and windows - were in place. By 8 p.m., Habitat workers had done the final clean-up and departed, leaving the site quite once again.