The Groundbreakers, an Archbold United Methodist Church youth group that built a house, were the recipients of the Spirit of Archbold award for 2008.
Nanette Buehrer, director of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce, said the group had been nominated for the Citizens of the Year award for 2007. The 2007 Spirit of Archbold Award went to ConAgra.
Youngsters Garrett Morton and Justin Allison told the story of their project, which started as few projects around the home of their friend Chandler Stevens and his mother, Mary Austin.
Austin wanted a light in her kitchen, some handles on her cupboards, and a few other things. The kids in the youth group picked out a few other projects including new windows, insulation, and a new furnace.
The boys said their adult advisors told them their project “wasn’t realistic.”
Work started, but soon, professional contractors announced Austin’s house wasn’t worth saving.
When they learned having the house professionally demolished would take three weeks, the kids decided to do it themselves.
And so, one Saturday, with the help of adults, they did.
A foundation was poured, and the boys said on June 28, a “house-raising” was held. About 100 youngsters from the community got together at 7 am, and put up the walls and the roof trusses.
On Sunday, July 22, Stevens was given the keys to his home.
Morton and Allison said the project was a community effort. Individuals and companies donated their time and materials, or offered them at reduced costs.
They said the community “trusted a bunch of middle schoolers to build a house.
“Whenever we asked for something, I don’t think we got a no,” the boys said.
“It was an experience we will never forget,” one of the boys said.
Jeff Fryman, of the Archbold Character Council, told the youth a tree will be planted in their honor in Ruihley Park.
He complimented the youth on their thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity, resourcefulness, attentiveness, compassion, and sensitivity.
“You have made your parents proud, your church proud, your community proud,” Fryman said.