(Photo taken by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Above, evening sun illuminates the new home now under construction by volunteers that, when sold, will benefit each of the county's volunteer fire departments. Below, the home is taking shape and will be on the market soon, but a potential buyer would still have time to make some design choices.
By Jennifer Zartman Romano
A joint project of the Whitley County Fire Chiefs Association and Ideal Suburban Homes is really taking shape in northern Whitley County -- a project that a family will someday call home and that will support volunteer firefighters in the community.
In December, ground was officially broken on a parcel of property donated for the project by Don Langeloh. In the months and weeks since then, a steady stream of volunteers and generous donors have contributed funds and made in-kind donations to construct a home in the Heritage Place subdivision in Columbia City.
When it is completed, the home will be marketed and sold and all funds associated with the project will be divided among the county's nine fire stations. According to Greg Green, chief of the Thorncreek Township Volunteer Fire Department and field supervisor for Ideal Suburban Homes, the funds will to be used to offset costs associated with the new emergency radio system implemented throughout the county.
Green and others close to the project are incredibly grateful for the steady stream of volunteers, giving their time, talent and resources to assist the project.
For Green, reaching out to contractors and subcontractors has been a big, but rewarding project. "After we've told them what it's all for, I haven't really had anyone tell me no," Green said.
The two story home is now framed and internal activities go on almost daily. Volunteers and donors from Grassy Creek Construction, ML Concrete, Erie Haven, Alert Plumbing, Wigent Excavating, Sunrise Development, Morsches Builders Mart and others have been involved in the effort.
"The best part of this is seeing how everyone is coming together, recognizing and supporting the local volunteer fire departments," Green adds, impressed at the many who've rolled up their sleeves and opened their pocketbooks for this project, a project that has moved forward at good speed despite weeks of bad weather.
"We are framed up and we should start rough mechanicals, plumbing and electrical next week," Green says. The entire project is expected to be finished sometime in June.
"I think this will be the biggest fundraiser we've ever had for the Whitley County Fire Chief's Association. We've done some gun raffles and that sort of thing but this will surpass all that."
At this point, the project is about 90 percent funded, but additional donations and contractors could be added," Green said of the project that will raise tens of thousands of dollars.
"If any licensed contractors would still like to get involved, they should contact Ideal Suburban Homes," Green said, asking people to contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For those looking at buying a new home that will not only be a place to live, but that will support a very good cause, Green said the house will be on the market in the very near future. Minear Real Estate has offered their services to sell the home.
"We're getting ready to put it on the listings," Green said, but added that while the project progresses, there is still room for a new owner to personalize it. "There's definitely time for somebody to pick out colors and make changes to a certain extent," added Green.
Financial donations to support the projects of the Whitley County Fire Chief's Association are gratefully accepted, for this project and beyond. For more information, contact Association president Jeremy Hammel at email@example.com or vice president Greg Green at firstname.lastname@example.org