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Open house fullfills dream for Rayburn Township family

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Friday, May 14, 2010

While volunteers built a house for a Rayburn Township family, three young boys couldn't get over their excitement for a new place to live.

"They constantly asked me, 'Mr. Klukan, when's it gonna be done?'" recalled Paul Klukan, project manager.

Amanda and Harry Slagle's family of five will get the keys to their new Kittanning home Saturday morning after Armstrong Habitat for Humanity volunteers spent months hammering nails, putting up drywall and installing windows.

A dedication is being held at the North Grant Avenue three-bedroom home tomorrow at 9 a.m. followed by an open house. The event will serve as an opportunity for Habitat for Humanity to acknowledge the numerous local businesses, organizations, churches and volunteers who aided in the construction with materials, food, funds or time.

Construction began in October. Volunteers have been working on weekends and weeknights ever since — except during the holidays — and Klukan finished up carpeting basement steps last night.

"It was a great learning experience for a lot of the volunteers," Klukan said.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that partners with communities to build and renovate affordable housing and then sells them to needy families for no profit or interest charged. Labor is provided by volunteer community members.

Families who are selected to live in Habitat homes have no-interest mortgages to pay and must do 500 hours of "sweat equity," said treasurer Clem Rosenberger. Mortgage payments are used by Habitat to build future homes.

The Slagles "had far above" the requirement, Rosenberger said.

Harry Slagle, who said he has a degree in carpentry, delved into many aspects of the construction.

"It was a lot of fun," he said. "We had a really good time."

Amanda Slagle said they are excited to move in to a bigger place, a process she expected to take a couple weeks.

Even the children — Anthony, David and Tyler — helped out so much that volunteers "more or less 'adopted' them," said board member Barbara Klukan, Paul Klukan's wife. Tomorrow's dedication will be full of "mixed emotions" for Barbara Klukan, she said.

"I'm ecstatic they get to move in," she said, but sad to not see the family anymore.

The home is Armstrong Habitat for Humanity's sixth and it sits next to its last project.

Habitat for Humanity is looking for a lot to build a new home on starting later this year. Board members hope to have a weekend-long "blitz build" that would involve work around the clock, Paul Klukan said. Kittanning council permitted volunteers to work from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. during an October weekend to stick by a borough noise ordinance. Residents in the area opposed 24-hour work.

Additional Information:

House is a home

What: Habitat for Humanity house dedication

Ceremony followed by an open house

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: 518 N. Grant Ave., Kittanning

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