Volunteers fashion homes

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Team Leader Lonnie Sievert of the Trivent Financial group calls a lunch break, Wednesday at the Eleele Iluna neighborhood, a Kauai Habitat for Humanity project.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Linda Springler and Tim Harris of Kalaheo peer from their painting one of the Eleele Iluna homes, Wednesday. Springler and Harris volunteer with the Kauai Habitat for Humanity two days of the week.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Virginia Pickerell of Wisconsin applies spackling while Linda Springler and Tim Harris of Kalaheo paint the railing and Lonnie Sievert gets a hydration break, Wednesday at the Eleele Iluna neighborhood, a Kauai Habitat for Humanity project.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Cassie Mertes of Wisconsin is joined by Ruth Sheets of Minnesota of the Trivent Financial group in applying paint to one of the houses at the Eleele Iluna neighborhood, a Kauai Habitat for Humanity project, Wednesday.

ELEELE — Mary Schuessler of Wisconsin said they needed to go back to the house because there was no twine to do the fashion sleeves of Milani Pimental, the Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s development director.

“It’s cooler because the sleeves are tied up,” said Fabiean Hershey of Pennsylvania. “It’s the fashion for building houses.”

Schuessler and Fabiean were part of the dozen volunteers from the Trivent Financial group who started work on the 13-house increment at Eleele Iluna Wednesday. The group arrived Tuesday afternoon and will be working at the Eleele Iluna project through Nov. 15.

Lonnie Sievert is the team leader, having brought groups to Kauai Habitat projects previously, and more recently, being involved with the building blitz on the Big Island.

“Bob McNamara went for us,” Pimental said. “He’s kind of stepped back from the active construction, but loves the work. He asked if he could go and help supervise one of the groups.”

Pimental said the volunteer group is working on the increment of 13 homes. Kauai Habitat for Humanity is also readying Increment B of the Eleele Iluna neighborhood where another 59 homes will sprout.

“We are pretty much finished with the infrastructure and the roads going in,” Pimental said. “We just held the last of our informational meetings, and the applications are due into Habitat this coming Monday. It’ll still be a while before we actually break ground in Increment B, but the process is already rolling.”

Fabiean was here volunteering with her husband Joseph, a 40-year employee with the Hershey chocolate company in Pennsylvania.

“He keeps the peanut butter cups rolling,” Fabiean said. “And while he’s working there, he can eat all the chocolate he wants. He just can’t take any out. And, ask Cassie Mertes about the chocolate she needs to eat before going to sleep each night. We’ve already been to the chocolate place in Port Allen.”

Carol Uden, working with her husband Dave of Wisconsin, and niece Mary Upson of Nebraska said this was the first time they’ve gone with the global village.

“After I was locked in by Lonnie, I got my niece to come along, too,” Carol said. “We like to do things for other people. This was a big motivator for us — as long as we are able to, we might as well do it.”

That sentiment agreed with those of Tim Harris and Linda Springler of Kalaheo who were working on one of two days the couple volunteers each week at the Kauai Habitat for Humanity.

“We want to do this,” Springler said. “We’re retired, and we have the free time so we come and help.”

Pomaika‘i Brown, one of two volunteer coordinators for the Kauai Habitat for Humanity, said both Tim and Linda like to work.

“They’re here every week,” Brown said. “The Trivent Financial group is one of the groups who come through. They usually have between 10 and 15 members who range in age from the mid-30s to the 80s. Our next group is a Global Village group who gets here on Dec. 2 and will work for 10 days.”

Ruth Sheets of Minnesota is also a first-time building volunteer.

“Hopefully, we’re doing a nice job,” she said.


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