OPINION COLUMNS

Building community

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, June 29, 2013

{{{*}}}When need has come calling, Wise County, you have always answered.

Take the record-breaking show of support at the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge in Decatur last month, for example.

This time it’s a $66,000 call.

Erika Pedroza

Erika Pedroza

After months of orientations, Trinity Habitat for Humanity has found a qualifying family for a Build A Home partnership.

All Charolett Schmerber, who currently lives in Bridgeport, wants is space – inside or outside – for her 8-year-old daughter to play.

Contingent on funding, the Schmerbers may soon establish an abode in the 200 block of Oak Street in Decatur, near the site of another Habitat home.

The project has received more than $15,000 in pledges, and sponsor relations manager Beth Lopez hopes to obtain at least verbal commitments for the remaining $51,000 by Aug. 30. If that happens, the blitz build would kick off in early November.

Although there are only 12 working days allotted for this project, they are spaced out, so the projected completion day isn’t until the middle of December – an amazing Christmas gift for a deserving family.

Since its founding in 1989, the Trinity affiliate of the international non-profit has built four homes in Wise County.

Help of all sorts is needed to realize the fifth.

In addition to monetary contributions, in-kind donations from subcontractors are needed for tasks such as roofing, plumbing, heating and air and electrical installation.

Volunteers are also needed in the actual construction of the home. For those better suited for a behind-the-scenes role, Lopez also seeks community members to serve on a steering committee to help her “network with potential sponsors and volunteer groups and get the word out about the build.”

These acts of benevolence are a worthy investment for the entire community, Lopez contends.

According to information provided by Lopez, more homeownership in neighborhoods is directly related to lower crime rates and higher property values.

“There is pride instilled in the homeowner,” Lopez said. “With renters and the transient nature of people coming and going, it’s harder to preserve that sense of community.”

Our community has a lot to be proud of in the selfless ways people step up to help our neighbors in need. Even on a quick turnaround, I hope this isn’t the call we leave ringing.

To help, contact Lopez at beth.lopez@trinityhabitat.org.

Erika Pedroza is a reporter for the Messenger.

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