In the late-summer heat, it was hard to tell the locals from the valley boys.
All you could see were teams of people wielding nail guns, carrying lumber, measuring twice, sometimes three times, and creating safety and privacy for several new homes under construction in Pacoima.
The workers were officers from the Newhall, West Valley and Altadena offices of the California Highway Patrol and they were there helping Habitat for Humanity build what will ultimately be a 61-home neighborhood.
About 80 patrol officers, some of them bringing family members, came to build fences and gates so children living in the homes would have a secure place to play and families would be able to enjoy their back yards.
Organizer Donna Deutschman, who serves as the CEO of the San Fernando Valley-Santa Clarita chapter of Habitat, said that the teams started out enthusiastically at 8:30 a.m. before the heat got too bad. By mid-morning, the water-runners became as important as the plank-carriers, keeping everyone hydrated.
The friendly competition was sponsored by The Gas Company, which pledged to donate $2,500 to Habitat in the name of the winning station. When all was said and done, it was a tie between the Newhall (whose Captain Mark Odle is seen working hard, at right) and West Valley offices; West Valley put together more linear feet of fencing, but Newhall built more gates, which counted for a few more points than the straightaways.
Families who live in SF/SCV Habitat housing are asked to commit 500 hours of “sweat equity,” a larger commitment than Habitat affiliates in other locations, and are encouraged to use this time to engage in training and educations efforts, as well as helping to build their own homes. Large projects also differentiate this Habitat from other affiliates, as the office is among only five percent of affiliates around the globe that have reached the milestone of 100 homes built.
For information on Habitat for Humanity, visit their website at www.HumanityCA.org.