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Groundbreakers Youth Group Awarded For Building Local Family’s New Home




Groundbreakers who were on hand to accept the Spirit of Archbold award at the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce banquet, are, front row from left: Austin Welch, Jacob Wagner, Tony Quintanilla, Cory Erbskorn. Second row: Troy Flores, Jase Grosjean, Stephan Manahan, Zoe Quintanilla, Santos Quintanilla, Evan Wyse, David Gambler, Mikayla Welch, Erin Erbskorn. Third row: Travis Roehrig, Aaron Bontrager, Matthew McCoy , Hanna Allison, Bryce Tinsman, Gavin Morton, Jay Miller, Krista Leupp, Paige Merillat, Samantha Wyse. Fourth row: Jeff Fryman, of the Archbold Character Council, at the podium introducing the group; Chandler Tinsman, Laura Short, Justin Allison, Aaron Wyse, Chandler Stevens; Jim Wyse, 2008 Citizen of the Year; and Garrett Morton.-  photo courtesy Royal Images

Groundbreakers who were on hand to accept the Spirit of Archbold award at the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce banquet, are, front row from left: Austin Welch, Jacob Wagner, Tony Quintanilla, Cory Erbskorn. Second row: Troy Flores, Jase Grosjean, Stephan Manahan, Zoe Quintanilla, Santos Quintanilla, Evan Wyse, David Gambler, Mikayla Welch, Erin Erbskorn. Third row: Travis Roehrig, Aaron Bontrager, Matthew McCoy , Hanna Allison, Bryce Tinsman, Gavin Morton, Jay Miller, Krista Leupp, Paige Merillat, Samantha Wyse. Fourth row: Jeff Fryman, of the Archbold Character Council, at the podium introducing the group; Chandler Tinsman, Laura Short, Justin Allison, Aaron Wyse, Chandler Stevens; Jim Wyse, 2008 Citizen of the Year; and Garrett Morton.- photo courtesy Royal Images

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.

House project

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.

Proud

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.

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