Never have a manicure before beginning a major carpentry project.
That’s the first of many lessons Chris Rasmussen learned last week while installing the foundation deck on her new home in Vineyard Haven made possible by Habitat for Humanity. Ms. Rasmussen’s enterprise is the fifth Habitat home to be built.
Ms. Rasmussen, a Montessori school teacher in Vineyard Haven, learned how to use a nail gun and most importantly to experience the joy of creating a home for her three sons, Connor, 18, Trey, 16, and Taylor, 14. The boys will also participate in building their home, mom said.
“I didn’t know anything about home construction before last week,” grinned the Fairfield, Conn., native. Now, while her carpentry learning curve ascends, the unfathomable mysteries of carpentry are more clear. That’s one of the benefits of the Habitat home program, said Julie Willett, executive director of the Vineyard Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
At the second annual hole in one and putting fund-raising contest at Farm Neck Golf Club last Sunday, Ms. Willett said: “Chris will know her house inside and out, what’s behind the walls, how to fix things and the satisfaction of knowing she and her children will be able to settle down and stop doing the Vineyard shuffle.” As the successful candidate from more than 40 applicants, Ms. Rasmussen invests 350 hours of sweat equity in the building process. Habitat will hold the mortgage on the two-story, three bedroom, one and one-half bathroom house on Andrews Road in Vineyard Haven.
“We need to provide housing for residents who contribute to the community. As a teacher, Chris fit that profile perfectly,” Ms. Willett said, noting that successful applicants meet the same financial criteria as conventional mortgage applicants and pass a rigorous interview process including visits to the applicant’s current residence.
“We are blessed to get contributions of time, materials and even appliances from Whirlpool for our homes. Our biggest challenge is finding the land on which to build,” Ms. Willett said, noting that one passerby in a golf cart offered to donate a house as part of an Edgartown home recycling plan for replacement home building. “We are continually looking for small pieces of land or a corner of a large piece of land on which to build permanent housing for Vineyarders,” said Emily Levett, director of development for Habitat.
While sharpshooters weren’t able to ace the 60-yard hole in one, a four-way tie resulted from a putting contest between Michael J. Cassidy, Jerry Murray, Wesley Cottle and Terry McCarthy, leaving Ms. Willett to work out a tiebreaker plan. Turnout for the contest was fair, said club member and Habitat board secretary Berkeley Johnson, who devised the contest last year.
Volunteers, manicured or not, are welcome Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, construction days at the Rasmussen home site. Volunteers and donors can also reach Habitat at 508-696-4646.