February 6, 2009

The Five-Dollar-Stud

Would you pay five bucks for one stud at the lumber yard?

Now what if that hunk of lumber were being used to help a family obtain their dream home; would you be willing to pay the price?

It's rare to stumble across a heart-warming tale in my line of work. As a code official (building inspector for those of you in Rio Linda, CA), I spend most of my day critiquing construction projects. It's not a pretty job, but someone has to do it.

So when I come across a great story, I have to share.

Most of you have heard of Habitat for Humanity. Made famous by former President Jimmy Carter when he started volunteering for the organization, they have built a reputation on fulfilling family dreams.

It's not a gift courtesy of a Fannie-Freddie type ponzie scheme. Rather it's a 100% volunteer effort. No unions, no illegal alien workers, no bailout funding, just sweat equity and generous giving by those darn religious groups everyone loves to hate.

Several church organizations participate in Habitat's efforts. A good number are non-denominational or multi-denominational groups, not specifically tied to any one official religious organization. But a story about one house the Episcopal Church in Eastern Montgomery County is helping to build really grabbed my attention.

While conducting a framing inspection of this house the other day, I noticed a lot of studs had been written on. "God Bless this house", one said. Others had drawings by young children; the one pictured above looked like a work of art. Most were simple well-wishes to the family whose house is being built.

The studs are individual donations. For five bucks, each donor is allowed to write a personal note on their stud. Just five measly dollars, times several hundred or so caring church-going folk, and voilĂ  - a dream home.

It's not as dramatic as Ty Willingham's Extreme Home Makeover series, yet it's a more compelling story. The main artisan on this project is someone who has benefited from the generosity of others in the past. Orphaned as a child, he gives back by hammering nails on cold winter days so someone else's dream can come true.

The house passed its framing inspection with a few items needing to be corrected. More importantly, it passed the generosity test as well. Many kudos to the folks across the country who volunteer and donate, whether cash or Five-Dollar-Studs, so Habitat for Humanity can continue to do God's work.

1 comment:

page13 said...

The bottom picture is NOT a bumper sticker. It was hand painted by one of the donors.

Click on it and see yourself.