Clarkston lends a helping hand to Habitat for Humanity

Members of the Clarkston Christian Coalition were in full force Aug. 22-28 as they donated $20,000 and helped build new homes for Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County’s ‘Blitz Build? in Pontiac.
The blitz was designed to be a practice for the group’s participation in next year’s Jimmy Carter Work Project, an endeavor hoping to build more than eight homes.
With guidance from coalition chairs Paul and Karen Yackell, Onie Morgan was able to call the one of the four quickly-built house her home by the end of the week.
‘Churches are really the backbone of the coalition,? Brenda Asselin, development director for Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, said. ‘That’s what we’re really all about. That’s where 2/3 of our support comes from.?
Paul became involved with Habitat after he retired from General Motors in 1997. Wanting to do volunteer work, he began helping Habit one day a week. Wife Karen later became involved and the devotion to the organization grew.
‘They’ve been instrumental as liaisons,? Asselin said.
The CCC came together to work on building projects with Habitat. Seeing the success of past houses, a joint effort will come together next year with churches from Oxford and Lake Orion to form one North Oakland group for the Jimmy Carter project.
With a $40,000 donation from the Handelman Corporation, the CCC was able to create a house for Morgan and her two children, 7-year-old Reggie and 2-year-old Ravyn. Members of Clarkston-area churches with Morgan on the work required for the house to be completed.
‘The crew that has worked on my house has worked so hard,? Morgan said. ‘They all came together and worked really hard. This is proof.?
Morgan is a medical assistant for Henry Ford Medical Center in West Bloomfield and was present on the Clarkston sight all week.
‘My hands have been into everything,? Morgan said.
In addition to the building requirements, volunteers had a chance to help with landscaping elements as well.
To raise money for the house, the CCC sought contributions, ran fund-raisers and sold joint items with the entire coalition. Next year the group plans on donating the entire money for one of the houses entirely on their own.
A dedication ceremony on Aug. 28 marked the conclusion of the project and the start of a new home for Morgan.
For all those involved with the project, the experience meant something a little different to each individual.
‘The thing that I wasn’t expecting and I received was talented people,? Jim Stuenkel, house leader and CCC member, said. ‘Any task we had to do there was someone willing to do it. It was truly a blessing.?
Paul had similar feelings.
‘I’d say it’s emotional in a way. It’s not just our house. Everyone puts their efforts into it,? Paul said.
Out of the large volunteer base, both Paul and Karen agreed on the continuing sense of camaraderie throughout the event.
‘Just meeting the people and working with them. People just walk up and help,? Karen said of her favorite experience. ‘I enjoyed meeting with the homeowners.?
Whether it was helping with the construction of a new home or becoming the recipient of one, the experience is one that Clarkston residents won’t soon forget.
‘The generosity of the people involved is amazing,? Asselin said. ‘For a lot of people, it changes their lives.?