Washington County Habitat shown support

MARIETTA – Mother Nature’s snowfall – or conflicting Valentine’s Day plans – didn’t put a damper on Habitat for Humanity’s 14th annual Paul L. Callihan Dinner and Auction as 155 people came out to show support for the organization’s fundraiser Friday night.

The event, which included a silent and live auction, was held at the Marietta Shrine Club.

Charlotte Kuehn, 72, of Marietta is a former Habitat volunteer and has been supporting the organization for many years.

“I’ve supported Habitat for 10 years at least,” she said. “I used to get lunches for the workers.”

Kuehn said the fundraising event is a great way to help support the organization.

“I think the cause is wonderful,” she said. “In Washington County, I wish (Habitat) could grow and get more volunteers to help build homes.”

Washington County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Dennis Thomas said this is the only fundraiser the local organization does.

“This is a big night for us,” he said. “All the proceeds help to kickstart our building season.”

Thomas said there were around 100 items to be auctioned in both auctions, and the last item had to do with the holiday.

“The last thing we’ll action off is a dozen roses,” he said, adding it was an ideal gift for someone’s sweetheart.

Along with Habitat volunteers, there were families in attendance who have benefited from the program.

The Arnott family, whom Habitat is partnering with currently, said they were excited about getting help receiving a home.

“They let us know we were getting the house a couple months ago,” said Joshua Arnott, 32.

The home is on Ohio 26 and Arnott said Habitat was waiting to start refurbishing it until the current resident moves out.

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Marietta Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, was in attendance.

“I’ve supported Habitat for most of my life,” he said. “It’s a super organization. I wouldn’t miss (the event). Good people attend this (event) and (Habitat) is a wonderful program.”

Bill Mitchell, Habitat board president, said the dinner isn’t solely about raising money.

“The main purpose is to muster an increase in talent and resources, both financial and physical,” he said.

Mitchell said one big thing Habitat is hoping to do in the future is to get area companies to help in a community service project.

Thomas said this is something new Habitat wants to try, and will be called “build days.” He said if area companies and organizations could get 30 people together, project builds would go much faster.

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what end of a hammer to use; we can still use you.”