Habitat for Humanity Norcross in Review

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For the past 2+ years John and Jo have been involved with a Habitat for Humanity project in Oakley, in the farm belt of our County.

Grace Episcopal Church has joined with other Episcopal churches in our area to sponsor one home at a site of six new houses.  This WEB page is the story of the Lee's and Grace Church's involvement.


  Click on any picture for more detail

Click Here for Habitat Information


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Ground Breaking May 2003

Jo and Luana meet with the Gutierrez family at the groundbreaking ceremonies.  Habitat brought in a fresh pile of dirt for the occasion.  

More welcome was the food for lunch prepared by the families who will move in in a year and a half.

Learning to Saw Wood October 2003

At last - some real work on our first assigned workday!  Concrete is poured on two homes and we strip forms, pick up nails and practice up our sawing skills.  Many of the volunteers are from UC Berkeley and weigh in at about 100 pounds.  That's the reason for power tools!
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Lunch October 2003

A highlight of all our work days in lunch -- (and you'll see lots of pictures thereto).

Here key participants from Grace enjoy a moment in the shade

Lunch November 2003

But it gets colder in November - our next work day. Luana and Sandy let the younger types "fill up" first.  Thanks goodness for Sandy's skills as the students from Berkeley all all well equipped with appetites if not construction skills.
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The Power of People November 2003

Here a crew lifts up an entire wall for the double garage. Two or 3 people per stud works fine!

Santa and Rudolph December 2003

Grace Church decides to "adopt" all 6 families for Christmas gifts.  Santa and his helper, Rudolph load up the sleigh and head off to the Habitat offices ahead of Christmas eve.
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The Mid-Week Regulars March 2004

January and February are slow months for Grace because of rain and scheduling.  In early March, John makes a mid-week work commitment and here he is with some of the regulars.  This picture sat in the construction office with the title "Golly green giant visits the jobsite"

Lunch March 2003

The local feed the hungry program, Loaves and Fishes, has offered to feed the mid-week volunteers as their contribution to this Christian ministry.  We are always warmly welcomed and although the food is "industrial grade", it nourishes our bodies as well as our souls.  We all should dine with hungry people to better our understanding.
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Progress - May 2004

John signs in while Mary and Jo-Ann bask in the sun as well as the joy of volunteering.  Homes are "wrapping up" it seems  .. but a lot remains to do inside.

A Saturday Start - May 2004

A prayer and safety instructions get new volunteers off to a good start on Saturday.
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Still more lunch fun - June 2004

Jo-Ann along with a few new volunteers are amazed at the wonderful lunch Grace Church has provided everyone.  Yet another Amazing Grace story.

Interior Painting - June 2004

Jo-Ann is "crew leader" for painting.  We get a picture of a few Japanese exchange summer students who have volunteered to help as a part of their program.  This also a great way to get the Episcopal Church's sponsor sign into the picture.
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Exterior Painting June 2004

While not supervising students, Jo-Ann paints some trim under the watchful eye of Forrest Cioppa, the site Superintendent.

A Chop Saw is a Wonderful Tool June 2004

Christina is one of about the 60 volunteers whom John has trained in using a chop saw. She is a school teacher on summer vacation .. and putting the free time to good use. This picture was to prove to her Dad that she was "on the tools".

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The last Porch -  June 2004

Aron, our Americorps Assistant Superintendent tackles post and beam framing with the help of Christine.  He has learned the Jedi carpentry skills well under the mid-week carpentry master - Norm.

It's hot in July 2004

John continues to work with new volunteers and teach them the use of power tools (some call him Yoda). 

 Here Alycia finds a pneumatic finish nailer just the thing to make the porch trim look professional

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Electrical Crew - August 2004

John takes on all the wiring for one home when we fall behind schedule in that area.  This Saturday work crew includes all skill levels and everyone was able to contribute to their fullest (although we did trip over each other occasionally).   Thankfully the power was not on yet.

Proud Homeowner - August 2004

Alycia and Brent have become the best mid-week electrical apprentices.  Here is a photo opportunity with Lupe and Anthony who will move in this home.  

Lupe has been working all day to complete her "sweat equity" stake in the home and Anthony has returned from his new school, less than a block away.

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September 2004 - Office Visit

John, along with fellow Exxon retiree Chuck Morton present some ExxonMobil volunteer involvement checks to Forrest and Aron.  It's nice to have non-specific grant money just to pay the power bills or buy new tools.

October 2004 - Rollers for Lunch?

On Grace Church's last official work day, Sandy is there again (marking 100% perfect attendance for our Parish) with a warm lunch on a cold, wet day. 

In this photo, it looks like we're also having paint rollers for desert!

February 2005 - A Rainy Day

John is delighted to work with a group of students from UC Berkeley, putting on the finishing touches by placing fencing in the side yards.  It was wet and cold but hard work and many hands made the task go quickly.  We left that day drenched by rain but more importantly drenched by a sense of camaraderie.

March 2005 - Speech-a-fying

John and Jo are honored to represent our Deanery group of Episcopal Churches along with Leslie Dawson from St Paul's.  He we make a few comments before handing over the ceremonial key to the new house to the Gutierrez family.  Ten churches gave lavishly of their time, talent or treasure .. all in ways that made this new home possible.

March 2005 - What it's all about

Here Anthony enjoys the key to his new home!

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