Simone Pickett worked Tuesday alongside a group of 3M employees and a volunteer construction crew with Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County to build the exterior frame of the future home for her and her daughter.
“I’m very, very blessed and thankful,” said Pickett, who now lives in an apartment with 11-year-old Madison, who has cerebral palsy. Their new Habitat house will be wheelchair accessible.
“That will help her be even more independent,” Pickett said before helping to raise in place one side of the home’s framing. “The goal is for us to be in the home by Thanksgiving.”
3M Co. has partnered with the local Habitat organization to sponsor the full-home build. Starting the framing process on the house, which is being built at a site just outside 3M’s entrance gate on State Docks Road before being relocated, was one of the projects of the United Way of Morgan County’s Day of Caring on Tuesday.
At least 150 volunteers and 19 companies took part in the Day of Caring projects, said Kathleen Ross, president and CEO of United Way of Morgan County. She said individuals, companies, churches and other groups took care of a variety of chores, including painting, pressure washing and carpet cleaning, for the United Way's partner agencies that don’t have the time or money for those projects.
“Most local nonprofits budget little, if anything, on non-essentials, choosing instead to invest their limited funds into providing services to the community,” Ross said. “It is a huge boost for the agencies and rewarding for the volunteers.”
Patrick Banks, a quality manager at 3M’s chemical plant, was among employees from the two 3M plants in Decatur who came out Tuesday to work on the exterior framing.
“You’ve got to give back, and this is an opportunity to give back,” Banks said, taking a break for water. “It feels good to give back and help people.”
Plans are to move the home the last week in October from the work site to Denver Place Subdivision for utility hookup, landscaping and other work to be completed.
Last year, members of the management teams from both plants spent the Day of Caring framing a Habitat home.
“This has been two years in the making, to be able to build a (Habitat) home on our site,” said Tom Apse, the manager of 3M’s film plant. Thirty 3M volunteers were scheduled to help out Tuesday.
"There will be over 300 volunteers working on the project throughout the build," Apse said.
Two other 3M employees, Kevin Foust and Ryan Claborn, both volunteered Tuesday morning for the first time on a Habitat build, cutting pieces of lumber to frame the exterior window and doors of the home.
“I see it as a great opportunity to volunteer and help the local community and one of our local residents," said Foust. “It’s great to be able to work side by side with the home’s owner.”
Pickett will put in 100 hours of “sweat equity” to help build her own home and other Habitat homes and 100 hours at the organization’s ReStore.
More than 20 volunteers from Ascend Performance Materials and one of its on-site contractors, Turner Industries Group, spent Tuesday morning mulching, planting new shrubs and doing other landscaping work at two residential homes for adults who receive services through the Centers for the Developmentally Disabled North Central Alabama.
Libby Morgan, CDD's senior vice president of services, said the effort is helping the organization keep those homes as well-kept as others in the communities.
"Every year, (Day of Caring) volunteers partner with us on a project to help the people we support," Morgan said.
“It’s the right thing to do, helping the community,” said Joe Kelley, an estimate and cost controls specialist with Ascend.