The home that love built

By Keith Strange

May 5, 2014

“You can really see it coming together now, cant you?” Neil Cothran, executive director of the Greater Mount Airy Habitat for Humanity, asked Amanda Cooke.

Cooke nodded.

Cothran, who works for Lowe’s Home Improvement, was one of more than 30 people on the scene of a Habitat for Humanity home build Saturday, building a home for David and Amanda Cooke and their two children.

The build, a part of National Women Build Week, featured groups from the Surry County Schools, the Surry County Clerk of Courts office and Lowe’s Home Improvement.

The home is the second home built by North Surry High School and the build is part of the second annual Women Build event in the county, according to Cothran.

For Cothran and the volunteers on scene, those helping build the house get more than they give.

“We’re just glad to be a part of it,” he said. “This home represents a hand up, not a hand out. This is a chance to do something good for a worthy family.”

It was a sentiment echoed by North Surry High School teacher Brooke Golding.

“I wanted to do this because it’s a chance to give back to the community and connect to people I work with,” she said. “I feel like this is a way to connect with our students as well.”

She looked at the home.

“The students I teach helped build this house,” she said quietly.

For future homeowner Amanda Cooke, it seemed difficult to find the words to express how she felt Saturday.

“This means a lot,” she said. “We’re so blessed and thankful to have this opportunity. It’s for our children and it means so much to our family.”

As she spoke, dozens of workers swarmed the house, with one group painting, another insulating its crawlspace, yet another group putting up siding and another painting.

Cooke said she was amazed at how fast the home was going up.

“When you get such a group of dedicated and focused people together, it’s amazing what can be accomplished in such a short time,” she said.

Shirley Brinkley, a Mount Airy commissioner, said she decided to volunteer after hearing about the project.

“I’m helping put up siding and I just love it,” she said as workers hammered away behind her. “I honestly couldn’t find a better group of females to spend a beautiful Saturday with.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.