Power of women

Coach Summitt, Lady Vols swing hammers to help with Habitat Women’s Build

September 26 was threatening rain -- and it came in a deluge -- but not before a sea of orange covered the landscape at Norwood subdivision to swing hammers and nail down the roof for Christina Reagan and her three children.

Women’s Build Habitat for Humanity welcomed the University of Tennessee Lady Vols and their famed coach Pat Summitt on Sept. 26 as the team and coaches showed up to assist with the project. There were 60 volunteers working with Women’s Build Habitat for Humanity project that day, and 25 of them were Lady Vols.

Coach Summitt brought members of her squad to Blount County to help with the Habitat project in Norwood Village off Morganton Road, Blount County Habitat for Humanity development director Susan Hughes said.

“Their attitudes were awesome, and they had a ball. They want to come back,” Hughes said.

The ballplayers learned new skills. “It was fun to teach them. Lots of the girls didn’t know how to use a hammer. We corrected that and that was fun,” Hughes said. “Coach Summitt had skills we didn’t know about. She knew how to use a hammer and was going at it and wanted to get the work done.”

The development director said it appeared coach Summitt has a great relationship with her team. “They worked side-by-side laughing. They were there until noon and when we stopped to eat, the downpour came. The rain determined there would only be a morning shift that day,” Hughes said.

Hughes said the home was started on Sept. 12 with different women’s groups helping. “We’re at the stage of putting the roof on with black felt and shingles, building the interior walls and beginning to work on the front porch,” Hughes said. “We hope to have it done and have it dedicated before Christmas. That’s our hope, to get the family in by Christmas.”

The home will belong to Christina Reagan and her three children. Whenever work is being done on site, she is there with the other volunteers, Hughes said of Reagan.

More volunteers are needed to work when construction is going on, usually every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. “We always need more volunteers, especially on weekdays,” Hughes said.

The development director said Habitat Women’s Build brings women together in an activity that is outside the comfort zone of many women - a construction project. “When they’re learning new skills like construction skills, they feel more empowered. They want to come back, and they have fun helping someone else, that’s what Women’s Build is all about -- empowering women to learn something new,” Hughes said.

Hughes said many of the volunteers are single mothers who learn how to take care of their homes by doing the Habitat project. “And at the same time, they’re giving back to the community,” Hughes said. “It’s a powerful thing.”

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