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Women wield hammers, duel for speed

May 21, 2018
In this Friday, May 11, 2018 photo, Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce president Julie Beck celebrates after defeating Goldsboro Wayne Chamber of Commerce president Kate Daniels in the Fastest Hammer competition during the annual Habitat for Humanity Women's Build in Mount Olive, N.C. (Casey Mozingo/The Goldsboro News-Argus via AP)
In this Friday, May 11, 2018 photo, Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce president Julie Beck celebrates after defeating Goldsboro Wayne Chamber of Commerce president Kate Daniels in the Fastest Hammer competition during the annual Habitat for Humanity Women's Build in Mount Olive, N.C. (Casey Mozingo/The Goldsboro News-Argus via AP)

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. (AP) — Julie Beck brought a secret weapon to the fastest-hammer contest -- an electric hammer.

“The problem was I couldn’t find any power, and you know an electric hammer doesn’t work too good without power, but minor details,” she joked.

So Beck, president of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, had to settle for a regular hammer, but was still able to out-hammer her opponent, Wayne County Chamber President Kate Daniels.

The friendly competition was part of Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne’s 11th annual Women Build at 202 W. Pollock St.

In truth, Beck’s electric hammer was just a regular hammer with a power cord duct-taped to the handle.

“Every day I came down here and practiced swinging the hammer, not,” Beck said. “It’s just skill. It’s just pure skill. Obviously you can tell that my parents made me do a lot of hard work manual labor when I was growing up.

“I think the main goal was exposure. There are so many people in our community, they are looking for ways to give back. This brought, I hope, a lot of extra exposure.”

Daniels said she and Beck had done a bit of good-natured trash talking leading up to the competition.

“We hope we will have more involvement in future builds -- not just for the Women Build, but for other builds,” Daniels said. “We just hope it has increased awareness about Habitat for Humanity, about what the organization is and what it means for homeowners.”

Daniels made a good point earlier about people being able to help Habitat in ways other than swinging a hammer, Beck said.

“If you can’t physically come out here and swing a hammer, you can come out and help pass water out to people,” she said. “There is something that you can do.

“Also, you can go and donate items to the Habitat ReStore, buy items from the Habitat ReStore. So there are a lot of ways that you can be involved with Habitat for Humanity without doing the physical labor if you can’t do that part.”

Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s Home Improvement have a partnership where they promote Women Build Week.

Locally, the Women Build event is also a fundraiser with all of the money raised goes back into local home-building efforts.

It was the first time that Patti O’Donoghue had been a Habitat volunteer, but her son who lives in Ohio has been a Habitat volunteer for years.

“So I am always getting these things, ‘We did this, we did that,’” she said. “For a long time I have said I really want to do that. You know, it’s one of those things you put on a list, but never do.

“So I decided this was the year. I am so pleased it is near the library because both families have children. To me, having that library within sight is so important.”

O’Donoghue joked that she showed up at 8 in the morning, something she seldom does.

“It is good to be out here,” she said. “It is amazing to me that this project appears to me to be based on faith and we are at a place in our country where we are afraid to talk about faith.”

It is a marvelous project for people in need, and there are so many people in need, she said.

O’Donoghue said the work gave her a glimpse behind the wall to see things she would not know were in a house.

Also, people do not normally think of many women being involved in construction, she said.

“It is important for our daughters,” O’Donoghue said. “I told both of my daughters I am doing this to say, ‘Yes I can actually put a nail into a piece of wood, and it is going to be a bathroom, or a wall, or a roof. Yes we can do this. We can really do this.’

“I am all for for anybody to giving it a try. It is not as if you have to be the strongest person in the world. You just come and participate and enjoy the fellowship with these other women. It is great.”

The build missed its goal of 90 women, but it was still a great turnout, said Matthew Whittle, Goldsboro-Wayne Habitat for Humanity executive director.

“I am not sure right now how many we have actually had, but we are over 60, probably close to 70 women,” he said. “Even though we didn’t hit our goals as far as number of participants, we still consider it to be a success.”

The Women Build is an annual event, and Whittle encourages local women to put it on their calendar for 2019.

It is held on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day, he said.

When the Women Build started this past Thursday only the flooring had been installed. By Friday most of the wall framing was up.

It continued through Saturday.

“We have a few more walls to put up today (Friday),” he said. “Tomorrow we will start do what is called sheeting it. We will start putting that outer covering on the house. We have had some good folks out working, enthusiastic folks.”

“We are pleased with how the event has gone. The weather has been good. It’s been hot, but it has been good. We have not had any rain during the day.”

Women Build is always a good time, but much remains to be done, Whittle said.

“We are asking folks in Mount Olive to come out and join us on May 19,” he said. “We have some volunteers that we know will be coming in. But we need a few more hands to get the roof on.

“We put the trusses on by hand. We don’t have a crane or anything that comes out to do that. We need folks to lift those up.”

The house being worked on is the ninth Habitat house to be built in Mount Olive. Construction on the 10th will start on the fall and will be located on an adjoining lot at 108 S. Chestnut St.

Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro-Wayne has built seven houses over the past several years with Mount Olive Partners for Habitat -- six in town and one in the Beautancus community.

Partners for Habitat of Mount Olive is a loose-knit organization made up of churches, businesses, clubs and individuals.

The fundraising goal for the two homes is $86,000 -- $43,000 for each house by June 30, 2019.

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Information from: Goldsboro News-Argus, http://www.newsargus.com

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