In five short hours on Saturday, a volunteer brigade of 25 women had finished the floor and erected four frame walls on Monett's newest Habitat home and the day was only half over. Their efforts were part of a one-day Women Build event, sponsored by Habitat International and Lowe's.
The group of enthusiastic workers, all wearing bright red Women Build T-shirts, stopped long enough to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony at the new home that marked the start of the Monett-Purdy Habitat affiliate's fifth home.
Karen Nevin, president of the local Habitat organization, introduced Carrie Jobe, the owner of the Habitat's third home.
"Carrie has really stepped up and partnered with us," said Nevin.
"I am honored and I feel it a privilege to be a part of this wonderful group of volunteers," said Jobe, who served on the family selection committee. "To the new family, I'd like them to know these ladies and gentlemen are not just acquaintenances or friends, they're your extended family."
After Jobe spoke, Gene Hall, pastor of A Closer Walk Christian Center in Monett, read two scripture verses and offered a prayer.
"When we work together, we can accomplish anything," said Hall. "The houses stand because they're built with friendship and love an with true care and compassion."
Courtney Phillips, the future owner of Habitat's newest house, was introduced, and she spoke a few words with her husband, Scott, and daughter, Veda, at her side.
"This home is a new start of a new life," said Courtney. "My mom and aunt brought me here (to Monett) and told me things would be better for me, but I never expected this."
Courtney was one of the women participating in the Women Build effort. Kathi Stipp, who coordinated the three Women Build how-to clinics offered by Lowe's prior to Saturday's event, was recognized for her commitment to the Habitat program, and Harold Taylor, sales manager at the Lowe's store in Monett, was also singled out for supporting the cause.
"I commend you for what you're doing, and I'm proud to work for a company that could be part of this," said Taylor.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Niven's husband, John, pointed out that Habitat for Humanity was not a "hand out but a hand up." He explained that homes are not given to the homeowners.
"The folks are buying the house, and we're just providing a way for them to buy it more affordably," said John.
Through mortgage payments paid by the first four Habitat homeowners, the Monett-Purdy affiliate is funding one-fifth of the cost of the new house.
Work sessions are scheduled for each Saturday through Aug. 8. Individuals, civic groups or businesses interested in helping build Habitat home #5 can call Ron Overreem at 669-4420 for more information.