PARKERSBURG - Wood County Habitat for Humanity will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year with the construction and dedication of its 50th home in a Parkersburg Bicentennial Habitat Blitz Build on June 19 and 20 on two properties at 4304 and 4308 14th Ave.
The sites will mark Wood County Habitat's 50th and 51st homes, said Alvin Phillips, executive director for Wood County Habitat for Humanity. Two foundations and floor systems will be done by that time and beginning on June 19 and ending on June 20, the goal is to have both homes under roof, he said.
About 150 volunteers will be needed each day for the build, Phillips said. The group is taking registrations at woodcountyhabitat.org or 304-422-7907. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry that builds or renovates homes for and with lower-income families who are living in substandard housing.
Della Lyons of Parkersburg stands on the porch of her 1335 Spring St. home. The house was the second one built by Wood County Habitat for Humanity, which marks its 20th year and its 50th home this year. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
The Blitz Build will also involve the "Habitat Road Trip Crazies," a group which travels around the country to blitz-build homes in two days, Phillips said. The group will bring 50 additional volunteers.
A groundbreaking at the two sites will be held 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Della Lyons knows about Wood County Habitat's ability to build a house and create a home.
Lyons, 1335 Spring St., still lives in the second house built by Wood County Habitat for Humanity, having paid it off last year.
The two-story home was completed in May 1992, about two years after the creation of the Wood County chapter. Lyons worked on the house for 18 months, her sweat equity.
The property on Spring Street was donated to Habitat and still had an older home on it. The volunteers first demolished and removed that structure - which took a couple of months - before beginning construction of the Habitat house which became the home of Lyons and her family. It took about five months of construction time to complete the home, she said.
Lyons said she originally applied to Habitat after hearing about the program, then it its early stages, from a friend. She spent a lot of her sweat equity helping in the habitat office and in other ways. The program was still finding its way at that time and nearly everyone was learning on the job as they went along in all aspects of the Habitat process, she said.
"It was a learning curve for everybody," Lyons said with a laugh. "There were a lot of very talented volunteers involved. I think at that time nobody was paid at all. It took the same amount of hard work then as it does now to get everything moving. I think they had a good handle on it then," she said.
Even 20 years later, Lyons has remained involved in Wood County Habitat in the years since she received her home. She has worked in various volunteer capacities, both in the office and on worksites.
For the past three years, she has also served on the group's board of directors, working with the family selection and family support committees. Lyons believes it would be nice if more of the Habitat homeowners would get involved in the committees, since they can bring their own experiences and insights to the issues.
"I enjoy giving back what I can," she said.
Lyons said it is "unbelievable" that Wood County Habitat has reached the milestones it is reaching this year.
"It doesn't seem like this much time has passed. It's really went fast and they have really, really grown," she said, adding she believes Wood County Habitat will will continue to grow.
"I see them in another 20 years, doubling what they've already accomplished," she said.
As both a recipient and a volunteer for Wood County Habitat, Lyons said she is also grateful to the people in the community for the support they have and continue to give to Habitat.
"It takes special people to give their time and money and with their continued generosity over the years they have made it possible for my family and other families like mine to fulfill a dream, live in a house of hope. Thank you," she said.