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STEPS2HOPE: Volunteers focus on plumbing, electrical work on Day 2

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With the walls nearly framed, the roof is beginning to take shape Friday. photo With the walls nearly framed, the roof is beginning to take shape Friday. photo
RINGGOLD, GA (WRCB) - FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE: Construction started back up early Friday morning and workers haven't stopped since. Just from looking at the outside of the home, you can tell a lot has been accomplished in just a short time.

Channel 3 took a tour of the home with the project's contractor and he gives us a closer look at what has been accomplished in just 36 hours. 

"The goal would be at the end of the day today to have it fully insulated and ready for drywall first thing in the morning," said Sherman Smith, General Contractor.

For the second time, Sherman Smith is leading the way as general contractor in a Steps2Hope home build. 

He comes up with a plan and an army of workers set out to accomplish it.

"So the plumbers, electricians, heating/air contractors are inside the home doing their work," Smith said.

Plumbers came in overnight Thursday so they wouldn't overlap with the electricians. What would normally take a week is being done in just one day. 

"As you can see they've got their boxes already set throughout the home," Smith said, "Pulling wire at this point and hopefully toward early afternoon ready for the rough-end inspection."

As soon as Miles Teems, of Teems Electric, found out a home was going to be built for Jason Smith he volunteered his time and employees to do the electrical work. 

"Actually I knew Jason as a young man, he went to church with us," Miles Teems said, "He came to our youth group."

TEems brought 25 employees to get the job done in just a few hours.

"They gave us eight hours to do the rough end," Teems said, "I think we'll be done in six."

It's that mindset that makes building a home in nine days possible.

"We're ahead of schedule for sure," Smith said, "We're hoping to stay ahead of schedule. If the rain, weather, is as it's planned to be, i think we'll stay ahead of schedule for the whole build."

Each day of the build Channel 3 plans to highlight a group of volunteers here on site,

Because without them, there's no way it would be possible to build a home in just 9 days. 

On Friday we met a group of firefighters, many of them from New York City, who will be spending the week in Ringgold. 

"When September 11th happened with us, we never forgot how much the community of New York and around the country, everybody came to our assistance to help us out," said Pat Neville.

Pat Neville is a retired New York City firefighter who was called to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. 

It's a day he doesn't like to talk about. Instead, he and more than 50 others take a trip each year to help others in need.

"On this build here right now there's over 50 firemen, from nine different states," Neville said, "Anywhere from Chicago, to Louisiana, Baton Rouge Louisiana, New York City."

When the group found out this project would benefit a wounded veteran and his family they planned a trip to Ringgold. 

"And we hear it all the time, the reason that they joined the military is because of what we went through on September 11th," Neville said.

Their contributions have helped the build stay ahead of schedule. 

They get to work around 9 am and don't stop until after dark. They say they'll do whatever it takes to honor Jason Smith and his sacrifice.

"He gave a lot, just like all the other veterans do, but he gave more," said Matthew Martini, a retired Navy Chief from Louisiana, "And it's very important to make sure that one, that we show him that we care about him, and two, that as a community as a whole that we care about what he has done and we thank him for it."

The group of firefighters plan on staying here until next Thursday. 

Steps2Hope needs volunteers with framing, plumbing and electric skills. 

They are hoping other companies will donate their time and team to the effort. 

It's important to note non-skilled labor is also needed for the rest of the build. The group plans on getting a lot done this weekend given the nice weather.


FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Building continues on a new home for a local wounded soldier.

Messages of support and thanks are hand-written on the wooden boards that frame Sgt. Jason Smith's future home.

Smith, a Ringgold High School graduate, lost both legs to an IED while serving in Afghanistan in 2012. Smith has been helping with construction as much as he can, but tells Channel 3 Friday will be the last day he can help inside the home because of safety issues.

HOW TO HELP | Steps 2 Hope volunteer page

Volunteers got most of the framing done during the first day of construction and spent the second day focusing on electrical and plumbing work and installing drywall throughout the one story home.

For those building the three bedroom and two and a half bath home, the reason is personal. Like Salvador Cetrone, a firefighter from Louisiana who made the trip with some co-workers to show support.

“We should support them because they've given their lives and limbs for us to be here and do what we want to do,” Cetrone said.

On Saturday crews will focus on siding and building the porch area outside.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The beginning phases are underway to build a local soldier and his family a brand new home.

Sergeant Jason Smith, a Ringgold High School graduate, lost both legs to an IED while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.

"It's just amazing the people who travel and give up their free time to come help a soldier, it's so rewarding to us," said Mark Wilson, Steps2Hope.

HOW TO HELP | Steps 2 Hope volunteer page

More than 100 volunteers from all over the country came to Ringgold to help with day one of the build.

In just a matter of hours all of the walls were in place, and volunteers started working on the roof.

This single-story home will have three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and a lot of  open space including a shower that's more than 50 square feet.

The home is being built with Jason's needs in mind.

"Life changes the most in the chair in the kitchen and the bathroom, so we spent a lot of  time and money and attention on those two areas for his new needs," said Wilson.  

In the mix of these volunteers are employees from Chevy dealerships in 3 states. Trucks pulled up Thursday morning with 38 volunteers and a check for $17,000.

"We just went into the individual dealerships and told them what was going on and they supported it right away, they had no questions about giving money for this project," said Jeff Sullivan, Chevrolet Volunteer.  

Everything from food to construction supplies has been donated. The labor is also donated and the only way Jason's new home will be ready in 9 days is if the support keeps coming in.

"You know their hashtag for the day was #BestDayEver and so it's cool to find other people, other companies, who got the heart of what we're trying to do," said Wilson.  

More than 100 volunteers showed up for Day 1 of the build and look how much work they've already completed.

Organizers say they're in need of sports drinks, water, and snacks to keep the volunteers working all day.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: It's the first day of work for volunteers as they roll up their sleeves to build a brand new home for a local soldier.

Every aspect of this Steps2Hope project is donated from the materials needed to build the home to the labor that will construct it.

The home will accommodate all the needs for Jason Smith and his family. Smith lost his legs in an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.

HOW TO HELP | Steps 2 Hope volunteer page

Each person here has their own reason for why they wanted to take part in building this soldier the home he deserves.

“It's just a great way to give back to a man that's given his all for us. I mean, we're all Americans and we're all on the same team and these guys come back and they need our help. They have been on the front lines protecting our freedom so we're here to give back to them,” David Martin said.

Crews will be working around the clock for the next week to get the entire home built.

If you want to help, it's not too late! You can do so a couple different ways by volunteering or donating.
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