About a dozen members of the Pell City High School football team joined other volunteers Friday to help build a Pell City Area Habitat for Humanity house in Cropwell. The volunteers put down flooring and put up walls for the four bedroom, two bathroom, 1,352-square-foot home.
“It’s a good thing to do for the community,” said Mason Smith, a junior who plays left guard for the Panthers.
Smith said this is his second time volunteering with Habitat.
“Last year, we helped clean out houses from tornado damage,” he said.
Smith said he enjoys helping out.
“The community needs help from the football team,” he said. “It’s heavy work that I can do and help someone else who couldn’t do it.”
Austin Martin, a junior quarterback, said he helped put up a Habitat house near Duran South Jr. High School in Pell City last year.
“I enjoy helping people,” he said. “I want to see the house get put up. Anytime Coach (David) Shores says we can do something, we come. A lot of the team participates, and as long as he keeps offering it, we will come do this.”
Even an injury couldn’t keep Jacob Vernon, a junior offensive tackle, away from the job. Vernon, who recently pulled the tendons in his knuckles, showed up Friday in a soft cast ready to work.
“I like helping anybody that needs help,” he said. “It is important to participate in stuff like this. It takes a team to do the job and it’s easier to get it done with a team.”
For sophomore right guard Michael Bunt, this was his first time as a Habitat volunteer.
“It seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. “I got it good compared to some people. I always wanted to do Habitat for Humanity to help out the community. I think it’s important for kids my age to get involved—it teaches work ethic. And I get the satisfaction that I helped someone today.”
Bunt said he also plans to continue helping with Habitat projects in the future.
This is the second year the PCHS football team has participated with Habitat projects, according to Shores.
“Participation varies,” he said. “We have up to 30-35 kids who help.”
Shores said it is good for the team to help the community.
“They have strong backs, which is needed,” he said. “And it teaches them community service. Our teenagers today are sometimes consumed with themselves, so we try to teach humility and service. Volunteering with Habitat helps teach that.”
Matthew Pope, member of the board of directors for Pell City Area Habitat for Humanity, said he helped coordinate the football team’s participation with Shores.
“They are out of school today, out here on their own time,” he said. “It was a big help. It took them no time to move the large wall panels, some of which were quite heavy. It would have been hard for us to do it without them and would have taken much longer.”
Roy Dye, building coordinator for Pell City Area Habitat for Humanity, said construction of the house began almost two weeks ago.
“The lot was donated to Habitat by Bill Gossett and Leslie Day,” he said. “The house is for Ashley Thomas and her three children.”
Thomas said her involvement with Habitat began about two years ago.
“I originally wanted to volunteer to help others and learn the trade,” she said. “A friend told me to apply and that I was probably a candidate. It’s great—an opportunity I didn’t think I’d ever have.”
Thomas said she has been out helping with the project almost every day and plans to volunteer with future Habitat projects.
“I’m very proud to be working with them,” she said.
Thomas said her oldest son is a senior at PCHS and she knows several of the football players who showed up and volunteered Friday.
“I’m overcome with emotion,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Dye said additional volunteers are needed to help unload the truck with the remainder of the house items at 9 a.m. April 27 at the Old Grey Barn building in Pell City, across from Sherwin-Williams. For more information call Roy Dye at 205-405-1426.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.