Marquette County Habitat for Humanity building 105th home

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Dave Allerding is the leader of a group of more than two dozen volunteers helping to build a brand new five-bedroom home for a local family of seven.

Each year since the early 1980s, members of the First Presbyterian Church in downstate Hastings, make a mission trip to Upper Michigan in order to serve their fellow man.

"We love the Upper Peninsula. The church also thinks it's important to give kids an opportunity to learn how to serve God and to serve mankind and help your brother out,” Allerding asserted.

He also points out the benefits gleaned from spending the entire week here performing difficult manual labor.

"These kids are on summer break and some of them are taking a break from jobs. All the adults here are taking a week of vacation to be here for a week," Allerding shared.

Executive Director, Marquette County Habitat for Humanity Mike Shimon agrees they’ve nailed that goal. In fact, these volunteers are leaving the paid professionals in the dust.

"I would say so, because there's more of them and there are some professionals here," Shimon declared.

When this group arrived to the work site early Monday, all that was there was a foundation.

"Today which is Wednesday morning, the house is completely erected. All the interior walls are put in, the roof is on and they'll be shingling it today," Shimon noted.

Along the way, these young volunteers are gaining invaluable knowledge and skills they can use later in life. Volunteer Cassidy Monroe says this work also helps to hammer home some important lessons.

"Building them a home to experience God in, to experience really anything in, it’s amazing. I think of how many experiences I've had in my home and knowing that we’re giving that to this family feels great," Monroe reasoned.

You could say this group has been bitten by the building bug.

"The house that's being worked on now is the 105th new home that we've built in the county," Shimon calculated.

So if you're interested in getting involved, volunteer Anna Olszewski says there's really only one thing to do.

"I'd say just go for it. I was a little nervous to go on the trip. But I knew it would be fulfilling and it's already so fulfilling. It’s amazing,” Olszewski concluded.

Click here for more information on Marquette County Habitat for Humanity.

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