The first two Habitat for Humanity homes in Courtenay are completed to lock-up stage — thanks to members of 191 Construction Engineer Flight (191 CEF).
Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North held a celebration at the work site — 1580 Piercy Ave. — this week to thank 191 CEF members for all their hard work.
Habitat director of development Tom Beshr noted he was amazed how quickly the project came together, pointing out 191 CEF stepped up and said, “Just put a fence around us; we’ll bring our own tools, and our own equipment and we’ll get ‘er done.”
According to acting Wing Construction Engineer Officer Ron Granados, team members spent nearly 2,000 hours working on the project from July until mid-September — and the duplex the team offered to finish to lock-up was finished about a week ahead of schedule.
191 CEF goes all over the world to build infrastructure to support Canadian Forces missions, and will head out very soon again. Members regularly work on projects in Canada to practise their skills. The group includes a full range of tradespersons such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians.
Granados spoke at the celebration, noting 191 CEF members are thankful to Habitat for the opportunity to train on a project at home — that will also help local families.
“We jumped all over it,” he said, adding he’s very proud of the team’s work on the project. “It was a win-win for both of us (Habitat and 191 CEF).”
The project includes three duplexes, or six homes, for local families that need a hand up to purchase their own home. Families who receive a home must demonstrate need, have children and spend 500 hours giving ‘sweat equity’ to build their home. In return they own a home with no down payment, and a no-interest mortgage through Habitat for Humanity.
Lisa Tukker and her two-year-old son are one of the families that will receive a home, and she was emotional as she spoke at the celebration.
“I’m just so thankful because without you we couldn’t do this,” she told 191 CEF members as she fought back tears. “You took time out of, maybe being with your own families, so that you could build a house for me, and for the five other families like me.”
Beshr also read out an excerpt from a post one of the project property’s neighbours had put on Comox Valley Craigslist.
“My son has watched this take place from Day One and has even asked questions,” read Beshr, adding the writer said the boy wanted to be like the builders. “To inspire a five-year-old is amazing. He thinks it’s very cool, he loves it and when he waves and you guys take the time to wave back!”
Habitat still has plenty of work left to do on the project, and is still looking for community volunteers for building, fundraising, working at the ReStore or joining one of the organization’s many committees.
For more information or to get involved, visit www.habitatnorthisland.com, stop by the ReStore at 1755 13th St. in Courtenay or call 250-334-3777.