‘I can’t believe it. It’s my house.’

Published 1:54 am Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday was a fine day for Bessie Marshall.

When work began yesterday morning on Andalusia’s first Habitat for Humanity home, the slab of the Bagley Street home was as blank as an artist’s fresh canvas.

By 3 p.m., Bessie Marshall was sitting and resting in what will soon be her new living room and surveyed the newly dried-in house with its white doors and new windows.

“I just can’t believe it,” Marshall said. “When I drove by yesterday, all you could see were piles of wood. When I got here this morning, there really wasn’t a lot to see. Now, look, it’s my house. It’s so exciting. I can’t believe it. It’s my house.”

Marshall’s excitement can all be credited to the tremendous outpouring of support shown by the Andalusia community, said Dale “Flip” Pancake, president of HFHCC.

“We started the morning with the LBWCC baseball team raising the walls and the trusses,” Pancake said. “They were here to give us the muscle we needed to get things off right. We had volunteers from every portion of the city. (Southeast Alabama Gas District) sent a number of people out. There were skilled laborers and lots and lots and lots of volunteers.

“It was a wonderful day,” he said.

Marshall will occupy the four bedroom-two bathroom home with her daughter, Terri Townsend, and grandchildren, Jacard Townsend, an Andalusia High School sophomore, and 9-year-old twins, Iana and Ian Smith.

Lunch was provided by Church’s Chicken and served by the ladies of the Andalusia Pilot Club.

Shortly before lunch, the outer walls were in place. By the day’s 4 p.m. finish, the dried-in shell of a home stood – complete with interior walls, windows and doors and most importantly, roof decking – and with weather forecasts predicting an 80 percent chance of rain today, that’s one thing that will be needed.

But a little rain is not going to stop work at the Habitat site, Pancake said.

“We decided to hold off putting on any felt paper on the roof,” he said. “With the morning dew and condensation, we thought it might make things too slick to get shingles up and on before the rain. That’s our goal.

“And when the rain comes, there’s plenty of interior work to be done, so don’t let a little rain get in your way of volunteering,” he said.

Work will begin at 8 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m. A group from Ft. Rucker will also be on hand to lend their help, Pancake said.

“This home is coming along nicely,” he said. “It’s going to be a great thing to see when it’s finished.”

Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit charitable organization that constructs houses for needy “partner families.” The houses are built from volunteer labor and the families own the house and pay a small mortgage fee, as well as help out with construction.

HFHCC is a 501(c)(3) organization, making donations tax-deductible. Donation checks should be made out to “Habitat for Humanity of Covington County” and sent to Habitat for Humanity of Covington County, P.O. Box 1034, Andalusia, AL 36420. In addition, HFHCC is now putting out a newsletter; to join the mailing list, write to the group’s address.

Those who wish to volunteer during Habitat’s upcoming building should contact the HFHCC office at 222-0827, or e-mail Katie King at kingkatief@gmail.com.