Potomac Highlands Fuller Center for Housing Looking For Volunteers

The Potomac Highlands Fuller Center for Housing is a non-profit organization in neighboring Pendleton County, WV, and we recently spoke with Board of Directors member John Connor to find out more.

“The Potomac Highlands Fuller Center for Housing is a covenant partner of the larger Fuller Center for Housing, based out of Georgia. The Fuller Center was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, who are the same folks that founded Habitat for Humanity. So, back in 1976, they founded Habitat for Humanity, and then, around about 2005-2006, they left Habitat for Humanity and created a new non-profit, a world-wide housing ministry very similar to what they had already done, under the name Fuller center For Housing. They work with covenant partners, local organizations that develop when local individuals recognize the need for affordable housing in their community. We work locally here – as our name suggests, we kind of put a focus on Pendleton, Grant and Hardy counties, and we’ve been working now since 2016.”

This summer, the Center is working on a project for local veteran Daniel Champ, and John Atkinson, AmeriCorps Vista with the Center, told us more about it, and how local volunteers can become involved.

“Depending on the build season, the Fuller Center can work on multiple houses at once, but for this summer, we’re focusing on Daniel’s.

“Basically, the volunteer schedule all revolves around a “blitz-build” event that goes on the second week of July, starting the 9th and ending the 13th, and then we have another similar event starting the 16th and going to the 20th, and that’s a hammered home, so we just pick it up where we left off the week before. And, before that, we’re laying the foundation to the house, getting all the materials ready to raise the walls. So, until the 9th, we need volunteers to come to the site, and help us do some landscaping., and then after the 20th, we have some painting to do.

“But, during the event, the 9th – 13th and 16th-20th, our volunteer schedules change a little bit. So, instead of having people come do labor, such as swinging a hammer and putting on roof trusses – we have work groups coming here to do that – so, the volunteers that would come up from the community are doing things a little bit differently. For example, we have a trailer monitor that sits on the trailer full of our materials and tools, and they just police it – they watch what comes in and out. We have a jet crew of people that run errands to and from town, so we don’t have to stop the worksite to get a material. We have a first-aid station, we have registration tables and comfrt stations, so the workers have higher morale – we give them snacks twice a day.”

Mr. Connor continued.

“One of the things that we’re very fortunate to have is a house sponsorship group. It’s the Assumption Parish, coming out of New Jersey. It’s a Catholic church that raised a fair bit of money and they are the ones that are actually going to raise the walls and set the trusses, and get the house in the dry in that accelerated build fashion. So literally, we will start with a wall raising on Monday morning, the 9th of July, and by that Friday, the house will be roofed in, in the dry, looking significantly finished.

“So, what we really need the local volunteers to do during that week and the week after, is serve in those supporting roles, to ensure that this outside group that’s coming in – we want to make sure that we kind of roll out the red carpet for them, and give them a good West Virginia welcome, and treat them right.

“So that’s why we’re really appealing for those two weeks for local volunteers to serve in those supportive roles, and then, beyond those two weeks, we’re going to be completely dependent upon skilled and unskilled individuals from our communities to come out and help us get the house totally finished.”

For interested volunteers, Mr. Atkinson can be reached at volunteer@potomachiglands.org, or by phone at 717-331-6361.

In Part Two of this story, we’ll find out more information about Mr. Champ and his new house.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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