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Jimmy J.’s Habitat for Humanity Trip

Updated:  July 2, 2012
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Jimmy J.’s Habitat for Humanity Trip

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Deneen Pottery

Favorite part of working at Deneen Pottery? Everything! Working alongside and inspiring our awesome staff and assisting our incredible customers. Getting to be around such a creative process and talented artists - the variety of 'opportunities' that fill my day keep me on my toes. Witnessing the transformation from proof to product.

Instead of making handthrown pottery mugs for the last week Jimmy J. and a dedicated group of volunteers did indeed build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Pictures and comments from each day were passed along, and I decided to put them all into one blog so that you can see the progress. That clean new Deneen Pottery shirt that Jimmy wore for our shoot before leaving has changed… You’ll see that transformation in the pictures and text below.

Thankfulness, gratitude, and pride are all felt about this project that Jimmy was a part of. We are pleased that he made it back and is now focusing on making your stoneware mugs, and crocks, and pitchers, and etc.

Jimmy on the way down – many miles were traveled to Daphne, Alabama.

Peter Deneen was kind to send along a box of various mugs for everyone to have. Here is a picture of a few of the guys at our first meal at the church with their mugs. Handmade pottery mugs are lots more fun than plastic cups!

There is a boardwalk near church that skirts a waterway called “Gator Alley”. Naturally it’s full of gators. I saw a little girl kick off her shoe and it fell down into the water. No one wanted to go fetch it for her.

Cutting the sleeves from my long sleeve shirt at the worksite early Monday morning. Looks like a hot first day!
 Work had begun on this house before we arrived. Generally the blessing is held when the volunteer crew arrives. Its the first chance for the crew to meet the people for whom the house is being built. Carol and her son Kenny will have this two bedroom house on this very pretty lot here in Daphne Alabama. It’s a moving ceremony. I’m grateful to be a part of this.

Up on the roof installing trusses.

Last ladder into the trailer at the end of the day.

Tuesday morning and it’s already pretty hot out. My Deneen Pottery Shirt is getting a workout! We are about to start on the roof sheathing. Besides being wind resistant this house will be very energy efficient. The sheathing is foil backed for a first step in that direction.

A lull in the action. On the left is Wayne, who is one of our bus drivers. They could be off fishing but volunteered with us instead. Very generous of them! We hope to get half the house covered today.

Our group of sixteen has a large contingent of teenagers. These guys know to work!

The site is cleaned up and we are heading back to the church. Here is a shot of the extensive reinforcements that will keep things together in a hurricane. What’s remarkable is it’s not even finished. More to come on Wednesday.

Wednesday morning and the roof is nearly up. Water breaks are encouraged! We are flying along.

The last roof panel! It’s ready for the nail gun.

More reinforcement. Nearly done with this stage. I spent hours up under the roof today fitting 2x4s and pounding up sheathing nails that missed the rafters. No missed nails can remain. I felt like I was in an easy bake oven!

This is Jamie our coordinator and master carpenter.  She is a real pro at picking apart a blueprint and assigning appropriate work to volunteer workers. A few decades in the trades will do that.
 Another shot of some of our hard working young people. They are caulking and nailing every seam. Only adults are allowed on the roof or up in the structure. There is more than enough challenging ground level work for them.
 Back at church on Wednesday evening we are treated to some regional treats. Jambalaya and a kind of Cajun sausage that I can’t pronounce. A wonderful meal. We set the table with Deneen Pottery mugs. I would have taken a photo of the table and meal but it all vanished in a very short time. Hungry people! Tomorrow we will prepare for windows and doors. Perhaps even begin on the siding. Everyone will sleep well tonight.

One of the Habitat supervisors led us to a beach nearby in the evening. A magical place on Mobile Bay.

Lunch break! The worksite is close to the church so we can all have a nice lunch indoors. We have all picked out our favorite pottery mugs. They will be long lasting keepsakes to remind us of this great adventure.

Thursday morning we were up on the roof nailing down two layers of membrane to prepare for the steel roof. I’m glad it’s a single story house. We got at this job bright and early to avoid the heat of the day.

 Insulation! There will be fiberglas as well. The doors and windows should arrive soon. The plan is to have the shell finished and lockable by our departure Friday afternoon.
Here is our group along with the home owners and some of the officials from Habitat. We presented them with an additional check of $15,000.00 that St. Johns has raised for them over the last two years. It is a real privilege to help provide this family with a home that will improve their lives for generations. There have been several members of their extended family stopping by to help out as they can. It’s certainly a group effort! One more day. We are excited to have a swim in the ocean before dinner tomorrow. We are headed to LuLu’s, Jimmy Buffet’s sisters place. Time for some rest.
We really moved on the roof to get it wrapped up before we left. Here is a shot of one of the final panels! Steel roofs are pretty common here on the Gulf. They go up quickly but must be handled with care. Sharp edges!

Here is my final task. Hanging the front door. Nice and straight with even gaps all around. It seems simple enough. It was not. I am pleased with the results.

Here is our group in Gulf Shores Alabama. We parked the bus across the street from the beach and made a dash for the sand!
My favorite thing. A wonderful treat after a long hot week.
Here we are gathered for a final prayer and wrap up. We all blessed a portion of the house with a small cup of water. We chose places that had challenged us or had some other special meaning. It’s been such a great week. Tonight we are off to the beach and LuLu’s Restaurant down on the gulf. The bus is leaving!

The core values of Deneen Pottery are: Dedication, Team Work, Pride, and Customer Satisfaction… These same values are evident in the work put forth by this courageous group of volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. When you have a talented group of people united in a common goal, amazing things are possible.

Thank you for reading our blog.
Niles Deneen – CEO, Marketing
Deneen Pottery

Avatar photo
Deneen Pottery

Favorite part of working at Deneen Pottery? Everything! Working alongside and inspiring our awesome staff and assisting our incredible customers. Getting to be around such a creative process and talented artists - the variety of 'opportunities' that fill my day keep me on my toes. Witnessing the transformation from proof to product.

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