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Work crews make progress for Habitat’s Montgomery home

By Staff | Jul 19, 2011

Greg Smyth from Doylestown, Larry Keisner, Construction Manager, John Cox, and Shane Cooper, Penn College interns, discuss putting on the front porch roof to make the trusses level. Shane Cooper from Montgomery is starting to put on the roof at a home being built by Habitat for Humanity on N. Penn Street in Montgomery across from the Christ Lutheran Church's parking lot. He is also home from active duty in the Army.

MONTGOMERY – This much progress would not have been done so quickly if it were not for the two work camps who came to Montgomery to work on Habitat for Humanity’s home. The home began its construction with the first floor the beginning week of July. With a work crew of 24 from Doylestown arriving last Monday, the project started to really take hold according to Larry Keisner, Construction Manager.

Members from the Evangelical Lutheran Christian Association came to the area to assist with the Lycoming County Habitat for Humanity project. “This is our third time we have come to Lycoming County,” said volunteer Greg Smyth from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Doylestown.

The group has been staying at the Genetti and enjoyed spending evenings visiting the local area. “We took in a Crosscutters game and picnics and Bowman Field so far,” Smyth said who came with a van and a work crew consisting of mostly women. Only 8 men are from the Doylestown group, the rest are women.

It has been a big team effort, much of the work being done by hand. “It took us two and a half days to get those trusses up,” he added. And the heat has been a challenge, but with lots of breaks and water and a lot of sharing, the group has worked tirelessly helping one another to make progress.

“We have also been blessed with a catered lunch each day from the Lutheran parish here,” said Smyth whose wife, Karen has also accompanied him. She has helped to get everyone together for the building project. “There are at least six families here this week.”

Two interns from Penn College are also assisting. Shane Cooper, one of the interns is from Montgomery and is also off from active duty in the United States Army. He served a year over in Iraq as an engineer, and he is scheduled to go back in December for another tour. He said he enjoys spending his time off helping his community.

John Cox, another local intern, is majoring in residential construction management at Penn College and is happy to get the hands-on experience with the building project.

“We have had two big work camps and church groups helping us out so far,” Keisner added. “We just ask and they just come.” The members from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Doylestown said that they have helped 150 families so far in their congregation, the largest in southeast PA. “I like to go and help at least once a year, and take a week’s vacation every year to do mission work,” said Smyth. Polly Bromm from Blue Bell, PA said that she has been doing this for ten years. “It makes me realize how much I have and don’t need.” This is her fifth visit to Lycoming County.

Their day starts at 7 a.m. with prayer and devotion at the Lycoming Habitat’s office in Williamsport. Then they board their van to come to Montgomery at 8:30 a.m. and work to about 4 p.m.

“We have a nice shady spot by the Christ Lutheran Church to enjoy our lunches that the Church here in Montgomery community gives us,” Smyth said. At the end of the day Heritage Catering comes and serves the work crew dinner. They are hoping to take a tour of Little League before leaving Saturday, July 16 as they speak passionately about what they do. “This is such a quaint, friendly area. We have been having a lot of discussions on the impact of what Marcellus Shale is doing to this area,” Smyth expressed as they readily saw its implications while staying at the Genetti. “This is the only DEP water treated facility in the state. The Marcellus is bringing a lot of change,” he added.

The crew is fond of what they do and said they enjoy seeing the results of their efforts to help homeowners obtain a roof over their heads.