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Two Hosanna homes go up in 5 days

| Friday, July 26, 2002

They call it "blitzbuilding," and it rivals the house-framing techniques of the Amish.

Using the technique, members of Hosanna Industries this week have been building not one, but two, homes.

The organization - which typically builds homes for low-income families - is building the two homes for staff workers.

Staff workers have been living in two trailers on concrete pads. The houses are being built because the trailers no longer are adequate for living, Hosanna Industries officials said.

Teresa Firek, spokeswoman for the group, said the trailers that are being eliminated are more than 35 years old.

"They were the original trailers - not very energy-efficient," she said.

Erecting two, four-bedroom homes in five days is no small feat - one that relies upon a cohesive group of volunteers.

Firek said the new homes also will give Hosanna Industries' clients a feel for what the group can build and the style of homes that staff members can build for those less fortunate.

"People can see what we've done," she said.

On Monday, the group began with nearly 200 volunteers and have averaged more than 100 every day since.

Most of the volunteers this week are members of Presbyterian churches throughout the region, although anyone can volunteer, Firek said.

Amanda Evans, 14, a volunteer from Mars, said she participated to experience building a house.

"I found out about this from my youth leader at church," she said. "It's awesome to see a house go up in this period of time."

Evans, whose only other experience of house building was laying bricks with her father, said that her inexperience did not hamper her within her volunteer group.

"I learned how to do drywall and texturize with mud," she said. "It's a lot more fun than I thought it would be."

Firek said the group moves at a rapid pace because of goals set each day.

"Tonight, the interior stuff will be done and the landscaping," she said Thursday. "We'll do touch-ups on Friday morning. We'll be moving stuff in in the afternoon."

Firek said volunteers work from 6 a.m. to about 11:30 p.m. each day.

Efficiency is a primary goal of Hosanna Industries' project. The new homes will have radiant heating, with an abundance of insulation nestled throughout.

Hosanna Industries bought the 8.5-acre property in 1998. Although no value was placed on the homes, most materials either were donated or were purchased through grants from foundations.

Firek said the homes will be a big difference over the uninsulated trailers that have been taken away.

The overall mood at the building site this week has been one of smiles glistening with thick sheens of sweat.

"I think I would want to build houses when I grow up," Evans said.

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