The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 9, 2013

Habitat for Humanity project nears completion

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Editor’s note: The Joplin Globe, in an ongoing series, is telling the story of the many hands that play a role in recovery from the 2011 tornado by following the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home at 2630 S. Wall Ave. Every piece of the home and every volunteer has a story.

The Justice League had a lofty goal when it set out to sponsor a Habitat for Humanity home, according to Katrina Richards, an attorney who is part of the group.

“We’d have little meetings at a table at the courthouse and brainstorm about how to raise money and make it happen,” she said. “Now here it is, a real house, with real people who are going to move into it. We pulled together and we did it.”

Richards was part of a group of female members of the Justice League who put in what likely will be one of their last work days last week at their sponsored home at 2630 S. Wall Ave.

The house is nearing completion, and as they worked, they joked and laughed and reflected about how far the project has come and how much they’d bonded during the process.

It was attorney Shelley Dreyer’s first work day at the house, and she enthusiastically jumped in with both feet, which were clad in neon pink tennis shoes.

As she opened a paint can and got started on doors and trim, she recalled helping to plan the golf tournament nearly a year ago that raised money to sponsor the home.

“And now here we are,” she said, looking around with a smile.

Each Justice League member has had varying levels of involvement, depending on career and family obligations, but Richards said she has tried to work at the house “as much as possible, because it’s neat to see it progress.”

“I was really excited to walk in today and see the Sheetrock, the windows — it looks like a real house,” she said. “I’ll absolutely do it again. I’m totally addicted to this now.”

Laurie Mitchell, who works in the Jasper County juvenile office, was also volunteering last week.

“This is so exciting. It looks amazing — like a real house,” she said. “The last time I saw it, we were bringing the walls in.”

April Foulks, who also works in the juvenile office, was last at the Habitat home at the end of November to install siding and fascia. She had surgery on both shoulders in early December and was eager to get back to work.

“I’m trying to find a job I am allowed to do,” she said as the group got started. “I can pretty much just use my fingers.”

Not to worry. Ryan Scheuermann, the site supervisor, found the perfect task for her: using her pointer finger to apply spackling paste to nail holes along door trim and baseboard trim, so the rest of the crew could begin painting.

Dreyer noted the project was a bonding experience for the Justice League because of the nature of the work and the informal environment, which allowed them to see a different side of each other.

“The fun thing about Habitat is it’s not about the bottom line,” Scheuermann said. “It’s about the experience.”