Whidbey Examiner


Central Whidbey Hearts & Hammers volunteers lend a hand

Whidbey Examiner Staff
May 10, 2013 · Updated 2:35 PM

Kathleen Ryan was one of 100 volunteers who came out Saturday to lend a helping hand for Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers. Volunteers help elderly and low-income homeowners with projects around the house. These projects help maintain their house, which in some cases, allows them to continue living there / Nathan Whalen photo

One-hundred-year-old Leone Argent has lived on her property near Coupeville since she was 7.

A group of volunteers visited the former school teacher Saturday to make sure her home stays in good shape so Argent can continue to live there.

They were a handful of the more than 100 volunteers participating in the Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers workday Saturday.

Eight volunteers visited Argent’s home, during the workday. The group was busy cleaning the flower beds, replacing a large wooden planter, scooping muck out of the gutters and cleaning the walkways.

“It’s a big job that’s beyond me,” Argent said. She has lived in her current house on the property for more than 30 years. She’s had a hand in making sure it stays up-to-date too. She said she helped install her patio and she, along with her son, installed a roof on her home years ago.

“When you turn 100, you have to give up a few things,” Argent said. She surpassed the century mark in January and marked the day with a celebration at the Jenne Farm. She taught elementary school for 35 years in the Coupeville School District.

Saturday’s work day wasn’t the first time volunteers gave Argent a helping hand. Last year her house was painted during the annual event.

The volunteers started their day at Living Hope Foursquare Church, located on Broadway in Coupeville, where they enjoyed a light breakfast, received an update on safety and posed for a group shot before they scattered to the 20 homes whose owners asked for help from the nonprofit group.

“These people are really courageous in coming forward and asking people for help,” said volunteer Kelly Keilwitz while addressing the group Saturday morning.

Started in 2008, Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers is an offshoot of the South Whidbey group that has been helping homeowners on the south end since 1993.

Volunteers help elderly and low-income homeowners with projects around the house. These projects help maintain the home, which in some cases, allows them to continue living there. They normally complete these projects during the annual workday.

About a dozen or so volunteers visited the home of Cathie Estes, who lives off Hastie Lake Road. Estes, who moves with the aid of a wheelchair, has the distinction of living in the first Habitat for Humanity home constructed on Whidbey Island.

The kind-hearted group of handymen spent the day completing a large “honey-do” list Estes had.

They pulled weeds, installed a kitty ledge, worked on the plumbing, fixed the lazy susan and oiled her dresser drawers, which the 68-year-old said she needed to make them easier to open. Another helper was busy connecting a garden hose to a faucet he installed on the deck. With the easier access to water, Estes will be able to grow plants on her deck.

“They are the biggest blessing in my life,” Estes said. “It fills my heart with gratitude.”

She added that she doesn’t think she could have stayed in her house over the past several years without the help of Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers.

Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers normally holds its work day the first Saturday in May. Work parties are comprised of building professionals along with anyone willing to lend a hand.

Once the teams were finished, they headed back to Living Hope Foursquare Church for dinner.

For more information about Central Whidbey Hearts and Hammers, go to www.centralwhidbeyheartsandhammers.com


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