Habitat volunteers building homes in Pascagoula

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It is definitely a labor of love, hammers banging away in tandem, helping to build a new home for a needy coast family. Downstairs, siding is being cut with meticulous care. Friendly guidance and advice is doled out, free of charge.

For Dennis Lojek from New Jersey, this is the kind of work that warms his heart.

"It makes us feel good, kind of humbles us a little bit to know that we've got nice houses up in New Jersey that didn't get hit by the hurricane or any other big natural disasters," Lojek said.

Amanda Eagle and her mom Deb are also down from Jersey, working hard on the new 14th Street home. Amanda said a little friendly arm twisting convinced mom to make the trek down south.

"I begged and begged my mom, and finally she gave in to me and she's having a good time," Amanda said. "She's conquering some of her fears, so I think she's liking it a lot."

Mom has a different take. She gets choked up thinking about her role in making someone's life better.

"It's very emotional. It really is to know that I can take one week of my time and help some family," Deb Cotier said. "It really means a lot."

Since Hurricane Katrina struck, Habitat for Humanity volunteers have built more than 500 homes on the Mississippi gulf coast, helping families who lost their own homes in Katrina, and officials with Habitat said they are not about to stop now.

Chris Monforton is the CEO for the coast chapter of Habitat.

"We're working with families all over the coast, hard working families that are just not quite there," Monforton said. "The housing need is evident wherever we go, you see right next door we've got slabs that are still available, still sitting out, but we still have this influx of volunteers coming from all across the country."

And as long as the volunteers keep coming, the coast will keep recovering.

Of the 500 homes built by Habitat volunteers on the coast in the past five years, more than 400 of them went to families that lost their own homes in Katrina and were financially unable to buy another home through conventional means.

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