GRANVILLE — Reminiscent of an Amish barn raising, Saturday’s Habitat for Humanity two-day Blitz Build in Granville had hundreds of volunteers hammering, carrying wood, climbing ladders and working like a team of seasoned builders, even though many had never done this before.

There was carpentry neophyte Maria Morgans, part of the 37-member Angiodynamics crew, who was scoring lines on several two-by-fours for cutting, alongside a veteran Habitat builder who was detailing stories of previous builds.

“It moves like clockwork,” said Saleem Cheeks, also on the Angiodynamics crew.

And barely hours into the overnight build of a 1,400 square foot home at 19 Potter Ave., crews were already lining up the trusses and other materials for the slate roof scheduled to go up at about 2 p.m.

“This is tremendous. When they told me they would need 120 to 130 volunteers, I said, ‘you’re going to get more,’” said Granville Mayor Paul Labas on site Saturday morning. “This is Granville. When the call goes out, everybody comes to the fire.”

Labas’ slate company, Paul Labas Slate and Newmont Slate, provided the materials for the roof, which was of course slate, said Labas, laughing. (Granville is the colored slate capital of the world.)

“This is Granville,” he said.

The Potter Street home is the 30th build for Habitat for Humanity, Northern Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties.

“Nearly 400 volunteers are working alongside Matt and Amber James, the new homeowners,” said Adam Feldman, executive director of the local Habitat chapter on Thursday. “Our volunteers get to experience the power of bringing people together to build a home, community and hope.”

According to Feldman, the new homeowners are from the community and Matt James volunteers with the Granville Fire Department and coaches several local sports teams.

To help raise the James' home, several area businesses put together build teams, including volunteers from Telescope Casual Furniture, Angiodynamics, Lehigh Cement, Travelers Insurance, Southern Adirondack Realtors, Saint Gobain, Curtis Lumber and Newport News Shipbuilding.

“It’s awesome. The spirit we have is what drives us,” said Angiodynamics CEO Jim Clemmer, on site Saturday. “This is a way for us to give back to the community.”

In addition to local volunteers, others were on scene Saturday from the Habitat for Humanity Road Trip Crazies, known for wearing dress shirts and ties for a Blitz Build.

A Saturday lunchtime barbecue was set for 300 on-site, and local and state lawmakers were slated to attend.

Crews of about 120 were scheduled every few hours for the build, and if all goes as planned, the James’ new home will be finished on Sunday afternoon, said Feldman.

But getting a Habitat home takes lots of work, with homeowners putting in 500 or more volunteer hours on other Habitat builds as well as their own home, Feldman said, adding that they want “sweat equity.”

Reserved for families who are currently living in substandard housing and cannot obtain a mortgage through standard means, selection for a Habitat home is based upon need, ability to make monthly payments and willingness to volunteer time and energy to Habitat’s work.

“We believe Habitat is wonderful,” said Laura DeVita, who created a Angiodynamics culture crew for the build. “We believe in their work.”

To apply for a Habitat for Humanity house, go online, http://www.glensfallshabitat.org/own-a-home/applicants or call the chapter offices at 518-793-7484.

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Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli covers Washington County government and other county news and events.


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