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Caution: Rotarians hard at work

Michelle Cho Gip, owner of Well Being Health Center in Poulsbo, got to work with on women’s build on Saturday. - Jennifer Morris/Staff Photo
Michelle Cho Gip, owner of Well Being Health Center in Poulsbo, got to work with on women’s build on Saturday.
— image credit: Jennifer Morris/Staff Photo

Rotarian women join Kitsap Habitat For Humanity’s Women Build effort.

NEW HOPE, BREMERTON — Twenty four hours of women power is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

And Saturday morning, that force was out full-fledged in Bremerton, as the Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club’s “Six Savvy Women in an SUV” fulfilled their end of a bargain: Four hours of their service were purchased for $600 at the club’s annual auction, and they were subsequently donated to Habitat for Humanity.

“It’s just basically hammering and measuring and nailing,” said Rotarian Marilyn Miller at the New Hope Habitat work site. The buzzing sounds of construction filled the air as each sported a “Rotarians at Work” T-shirt. Miller said the six altruistic volunteers — and a few others who tagged along — were happy to be offering their enthusiastic, though apprentice, services.

Miss Poulsbo Amy Stadshaug was also lending a hand on Saturday, along with members of Amy’s Army. Habitat for Humanity is a platform issue for Stadshaug, who began her work with the organization in 2004 while serving as Miss Kitsap. She stayed with it after turning in her crown, and even traveled to post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana to help restore the area in 2006.

It was at her very first house dedication that she realized the value of all the hard work, she said.

“I met some of the families that were so grateful,” she said. “It’s about more than just getting a house, it’s about getting a home. That’s never left me. It just epitomizes what Habitat is all about.”

Those receiving homes help to build both theirs and those of their neighbors, ringing true the pre-workday cheer “a hand up, not a hand out.”

Rotarian Sylvia Anderson said while the service club does many similar projects throughout the community, this one was special.

“Helping women to be self-sustaining is really important,” she said, adding the process is one that will give a future homeowner the tools for success and pride in their home. “That’s what’s exciting about it all.”

Rotarian Joan Qvigstad, one of the original six volunteers, said the day served dually positive purposes.

“What a wonderful experience in regard to building something for our community,” she said while atop a ladder, in between installing siding panels. “This is a great way to spend some hours and really get to know each other.”

Rotarian Rhonda Rotsten chimed in as well. Unlike many of the others, the building process is one she’s familiar with, as she owns Terhune Custom Homes.

“I hire people for this,” she joked, adding the day reminded her of the deserved respect she has for many of her employees. While usually in the supervising position, Saturday she said it was “nice to be a different part of the chain.”

Habitat volunteer coordinator Sibylle Palmer said the organization is hoping to finish 11 mid-construction homes by the end of the year, to make the “perfect Christmas present.” In total, New Hope will include 18 homes. The Women Build house is a two-bedroom. Construction on it began in April.

For more information, visit www.kitsaphabitat.org.

Names for photos:

Michelle Cho Gip

Julie Katana, old with hat

Gayle Heller - short without glasses

Paula Frey - long white hair

Colleen Smith - short gray hair with glasses

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