Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2001

Creatures of Habitat

Eudora volunteers get recognition for work on house

September 27, 2001

Marilyn Laws Porter said something her grandmother told her as a child has guided her attitude toward volunteering: Promise little and do much.

Doing such earned the Habitat for Humanity volunteer the founder's award at the Habitat for Humanity banquet in Lawrence last week, where the organization recognized seven other Eudora volunteers who spent more than 40 hours constructing a home for the program.

Julie Byrne, Bill Whitten, Larry and Loretta Gantenbein, Elden Lovelett, Paul Oelschlaeger and Eugene Westerhouse earned the Silver House award for the hours they put into Habitat's Eudora home site on north Locust Street.

The organization gave Laws Porter the John Gingerich Award, named after the Lawrence chapter's founder.

"Marilyn was totally surprised," said Habitat program manager Linda Klinker. "I looked at her face, and it was just great."

Klinker said the award goes to outstanding volunteers, and Laws Porter fit the bill.

"She was the main force in this," Klinker said, referring to the first Habitat site in Eudora.

"If it wasn't for Marilyn, I don't know how we would have gotten the lot. I think it's been outstanding for the community to work together."

Byrne, a construction co-coordinator, said she was happy to see Laws Porter get recognition for all the work she's done for the organization.

"She was so shocked," Byrne said. "She just sat there and cried."

"I wish I could get rid of all the trailer houses in Eudora and put everyone in a home," Laws Porter. "It changes people's lives."

Laws Porter said she was thankful for all the volunteers and the homeowner, Karen Williams, for all the time they've put into the project.

"I said, 'I feel like I should wear a sack over my head because I rambled on and on,'" Laws Porter said. "All of those people who have worked so hard have inspired me to stay in there."

Work on the house isn't finished yet. Habitat needs volunteers to paint, install sheet rock, and complete other jobs to get the house finished. The organization still needs donations to make that possible.

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