707th Airmen revamp abandoned houses
Armed service members help out with Habitat for Humanity
Story and photo by Mike Milord
Army Cyber Command Public Affairs
The uniforms were T-shirts, jeans and hardhats.
From April 19 to 20, the group renovated homes in Baltimore's Pen Lucy community for Habitat for Humanity.
The project was a volunteer effort to reach out to the community, said Senior Airman Bryan Poole, cyber transport apprentice for the 707th CS, who organized the workforce.
"I started doing this in November," he said. "We started a group and have done this a few times already. When this project came up, we received approval to provide support."
The revamped homes in the 600 block of Dumbarton Avenue had been abandoned, said Matt Metzger, HFH director of resource coordination.
When the renovations are complete, these homes will have three bedrooms and one and one-half bathrooms.
"Habitat acquired the homes," Metzger said. "Then we gathered a volunteer workforce to renovate them. Then they are sold to people who are willing to work in the renovation."
Prospective buyers are required to have worked a minimum 100 hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and the houses of others before they are eligible, Metzer said. They must also make a down payment and monthly mortgage payments.
Poole said he previously volunteered for Habitat when attending technical school in Mississippi.
"I volunteered three or four times," he said.
1st. Lt. Justin Klawitter, operations flight commander for the 707th CS, is one of the more experienced volunteers as well.
"I've done this before," said Klawitter, who has been assigned to Fort Meade since November. "We decided this would be our monthly morale event.
"When we got here Thursday, the houses looked pretty empty; they had already been gutted " he said. "Right now, we're framing the inside for each room."
A resident of Virginia Beach, Va., Klawitter also volunteers weekly at Sarah's House, a transitional housing program for families in need.
During the project, first-time volunteer Staff Sgt. Melissa Lange wielded a jackhammer to break up a concrete sidewalk in back of a house.
A civil engineering operator for the 707th CS, Lange became involved with Habitat when her fellow squadron members were seeking volunteers.
"I wanted to give back to the community," she said. "This is a way to help out where I can."
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