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(Wo)men at work
Distaff crew tackles Habitat project
mr.morris 2
Morris Oglesby, affectionately called "Mr. Morris," takes a look at the work. - photo by Photo by Ralna Pearson

The Women Build project with Habitat for Humanity was hard at work Saturday trying to get a house ready for a family of three.

Work began last year, but because of some roadblocks the group had to suspend construction. They have recently started again. Slowly, but steadily, they are making progress.

“It’s starting to move fast,” said Gail Onken, a member of the project.

Jacci Eubank, an agent with Re/Max 1st Choice Realty, installed flashing, hurricane clips and boards for the doors. Others set in the windows and prepared the walls for sheetrock.

“It’s been fun,” she said. “Everyone’s real helpful.”

Dressed in sneakers with tool belts and work gloves on the ladies hammered away, carried boards and sawed wood.

And not all of them were novices.

Eubank mentioned that when she was through working for the day on the house she would be going home to help build a deck.

Darla Johnson, coordinator of the Women Build project, explained that on some Saturdays only a few ladies show up, while on others there are many.

On Saturday a group of realtors and members of the Millionaire Women’s Club of Savannah were working.

“It isn’t about excluding men as much as it is about empowering women,” asserted Johnson.

She explained that so many single mothers having knowledge of construction helps prevent them from being taking advantage of by repairmen.

Asked if they had learned a lot from the experience, the women replied that indeed they had.

“Oh my goodness — yes,” said Brooke Dominy of Genesis Designer Homes.

The beauty pageant contestant look-alike operated a saw like a pro despite only learning how that day.

She admitted that working on the house gave her a greater understanding of the challenges the builders at her company face.

“You can learn things you can put to use yourself,” noted Onken.

The women work from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays only. There were about 10 at the Habitat house last weekend. Their leader and volunteer contractor has been Morris Oglesby, or “Mr. Morris” as the ladies called him.

“Start you a nail over here,” he said to one of them. “Remember that goes in the center, now,” he instructed another.

Kirbie Mason of the Millionaire Women’s Club said that Oglesby is a patient man who never criticizes or makes fun of them.

So, what is the difference between working with women and men?

Oglesby paused and smiled knowingly before answering, “Maybe easier to work with … lot of the men don’t want to listen.”

He added seriously, “The women work real well.”

Just like some of the men, the women found themselves enjoying the work so much that they wanted do more.

“I’m going to start doing this on a regular basis,” Dominy declared.

Despite their enthusiasm, they admit that building a house is no day at the beach.

“We’ve done some rough work today,” Dunford said.

Yet, like anyone who enjoys what they’re doing it takes more than a little sweat and some achy muscles to make you quit.

“See y’all next week,” yelled Eubank as she waved goodbye, smiling.