Written by: Zoe Hooley
The core of Open Hand Ministries is community. This is true both of the end-goal of families living in thriving community and the process of getting there. The work on our houses is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by countless staff and volunteers. This year, Open Hand is glad to add corporate sponsors to our team. The work at our house this month is underwritten by Tom Henry Chevrolet.
When Open Hand needed to purchase a truck that could help is with the hefting and hauling inherent in renovation, we knew to turn to Tom Henry Chevrolet. They have become a welcome partner in our work. Tom Henry shares, “I have known Michael for a while and he is passionate about his mission. We like to partner with responsible Christians like OHM.”
What a couple of months of work it’s been! There are times when renovating a house feels like an act of pure endurance and willpower (not unlike running a marathon), but since the beginning of March, our project on Rural Street has felt like a sprint. And really, not so much a sprint, as an obstacle course scattered with hurdles.
We jacked up and re-supported the original roof framing. Before we could do that, we had to jack up and re-support the floor structure beneath it. Jacking up the floor structure affected the eventual elevation of our rear addition—information that our block mason needed before we started excavating. Building the rear addition would have gone faster had there been less rain. Actually, the rain wasn’t so bad, it was the concentrated waterfall from the house roof onto the rear addition. That waterfall would be re-directed—after the addition roof was framed. Once the second floor of the addition was framed, we immediately used it to complete the final stage of jacking up the rear roof. Below this area, we replaced a wall with a beam that opened the area between the new and the old. It was a triumphant moment. Pausing for a photo opp, one of our volunteers quipped that we were “beaming.”
Along the way, we contended with not only Pittsburgh’s predictably unpredictable weather, but with a steady parade of deliveries, subcontractors, invoices, and inspections. It was beautiful.
Pittsburgh’s marathon course is fairly circuitous, compared to other cities’. Well, it’s been a circuitous route on Rural Street for the past two months, no doubt. But (knock on [reclaimed] wood) I think we are coming to a level stretch… in another week or two, we’ll be handing off the baton to a series of subcontractors—plumber, electrician, HVAC, foam-insulation, and drywall finisher. This doesn’t mean that the race is over, and there are certainly more hurdles to clear, but for a few weeks, we’ll have the chance to move at a different pace, gather strength from fresh faces alongside us, and feel progress in a more linear direction. There’s still a long way to go before our closing in December, but we’ll get there. We’ve come too far to turn back.