Dozens of volunteers from around the Ennis and beyond lent a helping hand last week to Dick and Suzie Roth, contributing their time and effort through the Habitat for Humanity program to build the new couple a new home.
A large part of the group of workers consisted of young men and women from the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Grafton, Wis., who were participating in a youth mission trip. While many of the kids enjoyed the opportunity to get out for a week-long summer adventure, including a trip to Yellowstone Park, none of their effort was lost on the fact that they were working together for a good cause.
Under the hot Montana sun Thursday afternoon, the group of 28 teenagers and 12 adults worked away tirelessly, completing tasks such as painting the foundation for the 24-by-24 foot structure, assembling the wooden framework for the home and landscaping the surrounding property.
Fourteen-year-old Julia Fischer said that her favorite part of the project so far was the painting.
“It’s the most messy,” she said.
As for the bigger picture, Fischer reflected on the amount of teamwork put into a project like this.
“You have to have a lot of patience,” she said. “There can’t be just a lot of leaders, you have to be a leader and a soldier at the same time. So you gotta work together, otherwise nothing gets done.”
Fischer’s fellow volunteer Grace Speerbrecher, 15, also commented on the satisfaction of knowing they are helping someone out.
“It feels really good, but at first you don’t realize it,” she said. “Once you leave and realize that you’ve helped someone and made their life a little better, you feel pretty good. You just want to keep doing it.”
“It inspires you and changes your life a little bit,” said Speerbrecher.
Dave Magistrelli, executive director for Habitat for Humanity in Gallatin and Park County, said this kind of project truly displays the local sense of community, even if some of the volunteers came from half way across the country.
“This is a way of getting everybody to realize that we are connected, because it takes a community,” he said. “And all these kids feel that too.”
Magistrelli emphasized that the project is by no means a hand out, explaining that part of the project is funded by a no interest loan, which the Roth’s will pay off. The project also received a $15,000 grant from Home Depot because Dick is a disabled Vietnam veteran.
“What’s good about it is that it brings people like this together,” Magistrelli said. “And that’s always neat. People always feel a sense of pride.”
Perhaps no one was more proud to welcome the volunteers than Suzie Roth, who helped out by preparing meals and arranging for the group to stay at the Assembly Church of God in Ennis.
“This is truly a blessing from God,” she said. “It’s hard to humble yourself to this level, to accept help, but the great fact is there is this kind of help out there for veterans.”
“That’s the best part is you’re paying for it in the long run, but these gracious, wonderful children, young people and adults that are here to donate their time to learn, to have fun, to laugh,” Roth continued. “I think also to receive the blessings from giving back.”
While the youth mission group set out to return to Wisconsin on Saturday, Magistrelli said he hopes to attract local members of the community to volunteer two days a week to complete the project before winter. For more information on how to contribute, contact the Habitat for Humanity office at 388-8225.