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Marines, sailors help build happy homes

By Lance Cpl. Dustin M. Rawls | | January 19, 2005

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Station Marines and sailors joined citizens of the Yuma community Saturday and Sunday at a local neighborhood to participate in Habitat for Humanity's Frame-A-Thon.
The Frame-A-Thon is a five-month event, during which HFH volunteers will help build quality homes donated to local underprivileged citizen who apply for the homes through HFH.

"It's basically people in the community coming together to help build homes for people in need," said Sgt. James Yacobi, Marine Attack Squadron 211 maintenance controller and HFH volunteer. "I decided it'd be a great opportunity to get involved with the community and have some fun."

HFH and its volunteers have built more than 200,000 homes around the world, housing more than one million people in three thousand countries, according to their Web site, http://habitat.org.

The Marines who volunteered for the Frame-A-Thon said helping with the project is the least they could do to show mutual respect for a very supportive community.
"We've been here for the Warrior Welcome Home Celebration and experienced the level of support the city has for us," said Cpl. James Snider, Marine Attack Squadron 211 expediter. "They support us and what we do, so we should definitely reciprocate that support."

The project is employing the efforts of civilian volunteers too, but there is always room for and work to be done by new volunteers. People interested in helping shouldn’t be concerned with their experience levels, said Yacobi.

"I did a lot of masonry work in high school, but not work exactly like this," he said. "They make it easy for first timers. There are people here who are experienced and can help beginners get going."

Snider said some Marines don't volunteer with the program because they don't want to wake up early or spend their whole day at the site, but those worries are unnecessary.
"You don't have to come at the start, and you don't have to stay until the end," he explained. "If you can only help for one hour, it's greatly appreciated."

Another great aspect of the program is that the families HFH helps are worthy of the gift, said Yacobi.

"If you have reservations about helping because you don't want to support a lazy family on welfare, come out and see what's really going on," said Snider. The families who the houses are for are there all day, every weekend, helping build their own home."

Seeing the families while doing the work is what makes the experience so special, said Snider.

"At the end of the day, you can look at the family and see the happiness in their faces," he said. "They are so joyful to have a home on the way, and that's the reward for coming out here."

Patricia Flores, whose family will be moving into one of the homes being built, said she and her family are so grateful for the Marines and other volunteers.

"This will be our first home," she said. "These people are helping to make our dreams come true. Being able to help build our own home is also really special and exciting."
For more information on the Frame-A-Thon and volunteering, contact Petty Officer 1st Class Denis Lawrence at 269-2353 or go to the HFH Web site.

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