They braved nearly 100-degree temperatures, learned some new carpentry skills and endured the curious gazes of many a beach-bound passerby. But, most importantly, they got the job done on a day that was anything but conducive to working outside on the hot pavement.
More than 70 members of the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAoR) spent close to six hours on Wednesday, June 23, hammering, sawing and erecting the framework for a new Habitat for Humanity house, at the organization’s headquarters just east of Georgetown.
It was the latest in a series of worthwhile projects undertaken by SCAoR’s Community Service Foundation, which exists solely to help those less fortunate in Delaware’s southernmost county.
“Seeing this makes me proud to work for an organization where we have so many people giving back to the community,” said Dave Lambert, 2010 president of the foundation’s board of directors. “It’s great to see people from all of our offices come together to help build a family a new home.”
The “Framing Frenzy” event was all part of Habitat for Humanity’s annual Women Build project, the organization’s volunteer program for women who want to learn construction skills and make a difference by building homes and communities for those in need.
The home framed out by members of SCAoR will be constructed on-site for a family in the Laurel community.
“I think this sends a message that Sussex County Realtors are active in their communities and they care about their communities,” said Kevin Gilmore, the executive director for Sussex County Habitat for Humanity. “To me, this just seems like a natural partnership. It was great having all these Realtors come out in this heat and be willing to put some hammers to nails and frame up a house.”
Statistics indicate that there are more than 4,000 families in Sussex County in need of decent, affordable housing. Constructing one home may seem like a drop in the bucket when dealing with such a large number, but those drops eventually add up to something much more meaningful.
Every effort makes a difference, and that’s what the Sussex County Association of Realtors Community Service Foundation and Habitat for Humanity work for, every day of every month of every year.
“There are tons of applicants right now for Habitat homes and, as Realtors, we see the need every day,” said Kathy Goodman, a Realtor with RE/MAX by the Sea in Bethany Beach and the 2010 project leader for the Women Build project. “It’s my ultimate goal to bring awareness, not just to Habitat, but also to the Women Build. It’s just encouraging for me to see this many Realtors participating in something like this.”
Though it was billed as a Women Build project, many male Realtors pitched in to help the ladies on the sweltering Sussex County day. Husbands helped wives, co-workers helped each other – even children came out to help parents.
“This is really fun and it’s just a great opportunity for me to try new things,” said 13-year-old Coryn Cannon, who tagged along with her mother for the “Framing Frenzy” event. “I mean I never built a house before, so it was pretty fun learning how to hammer and nail something.”
Since 1991, through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Sussex County Habitat for Humanity has built 51 homes in the area, homes where 74 adults and 134 children currently live.
Those numbers will soon rise even higher, with the dedication of Sussex County’s Realtor community.
“This is just people giving back to the community. We’re very fortunate in our lives and we want to do something for people who are less fortunate and who don’t have adequate housing,” says Lambert, who works as a rental agent for Jack Lingo Real Estate. “This is also a really good way for us to get other Realtors involved with the work of the foundation.”
During a break in the action, members Realtors of SCAoR presented Gilmore with a check for $7,500 to help continue the mission of Habitat for Humanity.
Besides Habitat for Humanity, other organizations aided by SCAoR’s Community Service Foundation include the Sussex Consortium, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Blood Bank of Delaware and the Delaware Food Bank.
SCAoR was chartered in 1949 and has steadily grown in size, scope and mission during its 61 years in Sussex County. It is a professional trade association with goals of carrying out a program of education and advocacy for real estate in the county.