JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Habitat for Humanity is celebrating the determination and skills of women, while calling attention to the need for affordable housing.
A new home construction site in Jackson County is part of the nationwide Women Build event.
Dozens of women with a variety of careers set aside their normal workday duties to pick up hammers and saws in support of Habitat for Humanity.
"A couple of you start nailing together," the foreman directed, "And a couple of you make some measurements."
Teams of women volunteers are learning the basics of home building. Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran grew up around construction materials. Her Daddy owned a lumberyard; but actually building a home is a new experience.
"Certainly, I'm learning a lot. I know all about building codes, especially since Hurricane Katrina. But I've never actually physically built one myself, built a house. So this is a great experience. It's fun. And it's for a good cause," said Mayor Moran.
Most of the hard hat wearing women are new to construction work. Their normal day jobs include a variety of professions.
"Managing insurance companies and banks and pre-schools. And they took time out of their day to make sure they're giving back to a hard working woman and a family that deserves a home," said Gautier city manager, Samantha Abell.
Lynette Meyers looks pretty comfortable with a circular saw. She is an artist by trade, who shares the commitment of these women for giving Habitat a helping hand.
"Habitat is a way for us to give back to the community and help out people who really need it, who deserve it. The single moms who are out there trying to make it work for their children and for themselves," she said.
Lifting the first wall is a proud moment. Team members will leave this job with a feeling of accomplishment and a few new skills.
"Learning how to drive that nail straight. Pick up those two by fours. And make sure if they have a crown on them, you mark a little mark up and down on that thing. And that's how you set them on the wall," said Gautier councilwoman, Mary Martin.
"Habitat for Humanity has touched us all. AmeriCorps has touched us all. It feels really good to give back," said Abell.