Churches, carpenters combine their efforts

Gary Dunbar working on
home along Railroad street in Stony Ridge. 9/2/09 (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

STONY RIDGE – Whether it was coincidence or divine providence, things came together as area carpenter
apprentices spent a week of their required on-the-job training at a Stony Ridge house which is being
renovated through a church and community project.
The name of this project is the "Stony Ridge Community Rehab Project" and was developed to help
a woman in the village who needed major renovations done to her home.
St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stony Ridge and the members of the community formed a steering committee
that met with the family, toured the house, assessed the needs and came up with a projected amount of
money needed for the project. They were assisted by members of Stony Ridge United Methodist Church and
other area churches, in addition to individuals and businesses in the community.
Six students of the Northwest Ohio Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Training Center, based in Rossford,
have spent the week hanging drywall and doing other projects in the eight-room, two-story house. The
drywall has been donated by two area businesses and the apprentices will provide their own tools to
complete the job.
Organizers have set a goal of $15,000 for expenses for the project, with approximately $11,000 of that
total raised to date.
According to Ken Trumbull, commercial carpentry instructor for the carpenters’ union, the apprentice
program involves four weeks of training scattered throughout a year, for the apprentices.
Often the work does not match up with the class schedule, in which case, the students would be doing
similar work in the classroom shop setting. He noted the project aligned very well with the scheduled
class training.
"The timing worked out that I had a class that was similar and we always like to get real-world
experience," Trumbull said. "It’s a real advantage over shop experience."
The home being renovated is a 120-year-old structure which was acquired through a sheriff’s sale. The
resident’s current living situation is less than ideal, so this "new" home will be a welcome
relief for her.
Prior to this week’s work by the apprentices, the work to date has been done by volunteers.
Gary Dunbar of Northwood was one of the apprentices working on the project.
He, like the others, noted this older house presents some interesting challenges for the workers. It is
actually a great learning experience for them.
"The house is crooked," Dunbar said.
Unlike new home construction where everything is square, the work this week involved a lot of unusual
cutting of the drywall.
"The best thing about it is we can help someone out," Dunbar said.
He works for Midwest Contractors and has two more classes to complete to advance to journeyman. He says
he is learning how to do some things quicker and considers this a very good experience.
Matt Reynolds, who lives in Oregon, similarly has two more classes and works for OCP Contractors.
"With the recession and the way the economy has been, this could be anyone who needs help. This
could be my grandma or us down the road," Reynolds said.
He added the importance for everyone to use their training and ability to help others, noting, "It
really brings it home."
Because the house has settled it gives some diversity to the training.
Trumbull indicated previous classes have been involved with Habitat for Humanity and other projects. When
working on a volunteer project such as this, there is no charge to the project. The students and
instructor volunteer their time to fulfill the training requirements.
Pastor James Budke was onsite Thursday to see how things were going.
"The committee is being very diligent on how the money is spent," he said.
He is pleased to be part of the group which he stressed is a true community effort.
Nancy Gerwin, a coordinator of the project, concurred.
"This project has brought neighbors and community members together working on a common goal to help
someone in need," she stated. "It is good to see this much sharing and kindness being extended
to help someone, especially in our current economic struggle.
She especially noted the work of the carpenters apprentices is "a great boost for this
"Our goal is to have her (the homeowner) in the house by the end of November," Budke said.

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