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Habitat's 'blitz build' puts roof on house

Renatta Signorini
| Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009

Volunteers got a roof on a Habitat for Humanity house this weekend during a "blitz build," which executive director Donnie Gutherie said is great progress.

"The foundation was just finished" Thursday, he said, and with about 40 volunteers' help, the North Grant Avenue house is starting to take shape above ground.

Armstrong Habitat for Humanity broke ground on the project in early September and organized an all-weekend building session for this past weekend. Kittanning council permitted the organization to work until 11 p.m. in accordance with an ordinance, but not overnight after residents in the area shared noise concerns.

Volunteers originally had asked council for permission to work through Saturday night and into Sunday.

Residents and members of the nearby First Church of God attended the borough council meeting last week to reach a compromise with the organization's working hours and a road closure. A second "blitz build" is scheduled for this weekend, weather permitting, Gutherie said. He expects work to continue every Saturday and Sunday, until the home's expected completion in January.

Gutherie did not receive any complaints from neighbors after this past weekend's work, he said.

"We're still looking for volunteers," he said. "We got a lot of work done over the weekend. Everybody was very helpful."

Council president Gerald Shuster said he did not have any calls regarding concerns about the project during the weekend.

Volunteers worked from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Gutherie said.

The project is being directed by Paul Klukan, he said, and other contractors and plumbers -- including Woodside Plumbing, BMB Custom Homes, Inc., A. Guzzo Construction and Daniel Plumbing -- assisted throughout the weekend.

"These contractors were donating their services," Gutherie said. "It was fantastic."

North Grant Avenue in the area of the home was closed for most of the weekend, but remained open for church services.

While volunteers worked throughout the weekend, King's Family Restaurant and Christ and Emmanuel Lutheran churches donated food, Gutherie said. McDonald's and Wendy's will provide lunches for upcoming workdays, he said.

How to help

To participate in this weekend's building session on Saturday and Sunday, call the Armstrong Habitat for Humanity at 724-545-4905 or visit www.armstronghfh.org.

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