A new house is the next challenge for a group of special volunteers, known as Solid Rock Carpenters, and I am a proud member of that group and this exciting project. Three days in Tupelo, MS to build a new home for a deserving family. Our goal is to make as much progress as we can to make this home ready for its family. Our first challenge is to help the masons complete the foundation to make it ready for framing.
Our foundation challenge now has a solution and we are ready to begin production of the home’s components. One team is framing and sheathing the floor deck, expertly squared and properly dimensioned. This is important, as another team (my team) is off-site, framing the exterior walls to exact dimensions.
Heavy weather threatened on Friday, cutting the floor crew’s day short, but they joined us at the warehouse and helped us finish up on the walls. We and the organizers are all focussed on tomorrow’s forecast, as our goal to complete raising the exterior walls depends on a full day’s work. We are anticipating heavy rain and storms all day.
On Saturday, a quick fuel-up breakfast, prepared by church chef Clete Brekke at the First United Methodist Church of Tupelo, and off to the job site to make ready for the wall delivery. There is one 12 inch strip of floor sheathing remaining to complete the floor and then clearing the floor plate areas and chalking guide lines. The first load of walls arrive and are placed in position along the rear of the home. The rain is holding off for now.
Corey, our homeowner, joins the crew to help prepare the walls. The panels are secured to one another and sheathed, cutting out the door and window openings and its time for the big lift. All hands on deck to lift the heavy forty-four foot, 2×6 wall to its standing position while temporary braces are placed to prevent it tipping over into the rear yard. The adjoining side walls are treated similarly and raised to secure the rear wall.
By noon we have three of the six walls up and secured and all of the remaining walls are staged and ready for their turn. It is beginning to rain. Before breaking for lunch, we hurriedly arrange the front wall panels into their positions.
A delicious lunch from one of the local BBQ smokehouses fuels the afternoon’s efforts. We’re into the grove now and front wall is ready to go up while at the same time, it’s side walls are prepared to complete the exterior. A few light sprinkles helps to keep us cool and wash off some of the dust as we put the finishing touches on our work.
We stand back to admire our work and reflect on our experiences of working together and making new friends and marvel that ‘it kinda looks like a house”. Even more importantly, it looks very much like the house in the picture.
Our last evening in Tupelo, we share dinner with our new friends Corey (homeowner) and her friend at Mugshots, one of the more popular dining and beverage establishments in Tupelo. The stories as they often do begin to flow, weaving a tapestry of life in Tupelo, our previous Solid Rock Carpenter / Habitat for Humanity experiences and those that we plan to pursue in the future. This is my reward and what makes all the early mornings and sore muscles worth every trip.
Thanks to all who participated and supported these efforts. To learn more about this trip, visit the websites for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, the host church and Solid Rock Carpenters: