Volunteers help Habitat

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This holiday season will be a bit brighter for one Mississippi woman, thanks to the efforts of Northern Virginia Habitat for Humanity and four volunteers from Virginia Congressman Jim Morans office. The four staffers, Austin Durrer, Gayle Reuter, Brian Spoon and Frank Shafroth, traveled to Biloxi to help put the finishing touches on a home that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and has now been rebuilt.

The staffers hopped on a plane on Monday, Nov. 26, and flew to Biloxi. We stayed in a church dormitory and ate our meals at the local Salvation Army where volunteers prepared amazing home cooked southern meals, Durrer said. Its a good thing we were working hard because we were eating extremely well.

Working hard, they were. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., they worked on the small home. We laid floors, put in baseboards, built a deck and painted, Durrer said. We did whatever we were asked to do to finish the house.

The house belongs to 87-year-old Catherine McEntyre, who, along with her husband, built it 57 years ago. Katrina all but destroyed the structure, leaving only the foundation. Since Katrina, McEntyre has been living with relatives.

We didnt get to meet her but we heard stories from her neighbors who are looking forward to having her back home, Durrer said. Everyone is hoping that will happen in time for Christmas.

Northern Virginia Habitat for Humanity has now completed 50 homes in the Gulf and is continuing to work hard there. It was a once in a lifetime experience, Reuter said. There are volunteers from all over the United States who are doing whatever they can to help. People who dont feel comfortable with construction jobs were cooking and doing other jobs that are just as important. It really was a remarkable experience.

Habitat for Humanity is always looking for assistance. The jobs that are available are listed on their web site.

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