Paducah resident Phaith Crider's future home marked a major milestone Saturday when volunteers raised the walls for House No. 73 by Paducah-McCracken County Habitat for Humanity.
"Watching the house come together and knowing this is something that's completely brand new and I'm actually taking a part in it -- it just leaves you speechless and giggly like a little 13-year-old girl," she said. "It's wonderful. It is."
Crider was one of many people at the construction site about 21/2 hours into the wall-raising Saturday, as loud hammering sounds filled the air. She watched while different volunteers and construction coordinator Mike Chumbler installed the top plate on the house's frame walls, which makes them straight, according to Chumbler.
The Habitat home, located at 932 River Oaks Blvd., is funded by Leadership Paducah Class No. 32 and will house Crider and her 10-year-old son, Aiden, who attends Clark Elementary School. Construction on the project started the first week of September, after a groundbreaking ceremony in mid-July.
"It's a great process," said Brenda Langlois, executive director for Paducah-McCracken County Habitat for Humanity. "It's wonderful watching a house emerge. We started out with just a concrete slab and when we stop at the end of the day, we'll have walls in there and you'll be able to see the shell of the house. So, it's really exciting -- exciting day."
Langlois estimated about 35 volunteers came out for the wall-raising, including some from Leadership Paducah Class No. 32 and Clark Elementary.
"It takes a community to build a Habitat house," she said.
The event was the second wall-raising for Paducah volunteer Ashley Simmons, who is part of the leadership class. She helped set walls and placed bolts in the floor to help secure the walls' base.
"It's a blast just getting out here and being a part of it because you're actually seeing it go up before your eyes, seeing the groundbreaking, seeing the walls go up and it's just kind of exciting seeing the homeowner here as well, working and just seeing the joy on their faces," Simmons said.
The walls were built earlier this year by New Hope Christian Church in Bartlett, Tennessee, while Leadership Paducah Class No. 32 raised $74,800 for the build and secured in-kind donations for electrical, insulation and plumbing work. The group presented a ceremonial check to Langlois in July and several members attended the groundbreaking.
Langlois hopes the project is completed by February and to start getting the Crider family moved in around that time. There are many construction steps left before that can happen, such as the siding, roofing, installation of doors and windows, wiring and much more. She also hopes to save $20,000 for another build in spring/summer 2020.
The next location is a lot at 2901 Virginia St., which was donated.
"It's located right behind Morgan Elementary School," she said. "… We're excited and looking forward to that because next year will be (the local) Habitat's 40th anniversary of being a Habitat affiliate, so we want to hopefully get two houses built next year. That's what we're gearing up to do -- that's our plan."
Habitat for Humanity families have to meet certain requirements to qualify for homes, including income and family size. They also pay an interest-free mortgage and put in 350 "sweat equity" hours, which can involve construction help, painting and other activities.
Crider wants people to know the program is available.
"It's a wonderful program to be a part of and we need all the volunteers, we need more families," she said. "It's here. It's a great opportunity that people need to try to be a part of whether it's volunteering or even becoming a family that gets a Habitat home."
Visit paducahhabitat.org for more information about the organization, volunteer opportunities, making donations or how to qualify for future homes.