Neighbors helping neighbors: In Burrillville, veterans & volunteers build homes – and community

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Scott Glaude, left, and David Collins at work

BURRILLVILLE – David Collins, 59, and Scott Glaude, 50, are two local veterans building their own duplex through Habitat for Humanity at 57-59 Oakland School Street in Burrillville. The men need to earn 300 hours of, “sweat equity,” by helping to construct their future homes, which they have been working on every Saturday since late October of last year.

“I have 100 hours after today,” said Collins, a Cranston resident who served in the Army National Guard for six years in Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia. 

Glaude, who served in the National Guard and Reserves for six years as well, has 150 hours so far, he said. 

“See, it helps to have friends and family to help you with the hours,” Collins said. “I don’t really have that.” 

“When I get my hours, I am going to help him with his,” Glaude said. “I already checked, and it’s ok to do that.”

The two men personify the, “neighbors helping neighbors,” motto of Habitat for Humanity, said Linda Plays, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of West Bay/Northern Rhode Island. “You want to get along with your neighbor, and they’re building their actual house together,” she said. 

Sure enough, Collins and Glaude say they have forged a friendship through their work together these last 16 weeks. 

“We clicked right away,” Collins said. “We are the same kind of people.”

Collins puts in sweat equity hours. NRI NOW photo by Karleen Kozaczka

The property on Oakland School Street is part of two lots that Habitat acquired from Community Housing Land Trust of RI. The lot at 83-85 Oakland School Street now houses two families, while the duplex currently under construction was designated specifically for veterans, said Louise Carriere, Habitat Board and Construction Committee member.

“It took us almost two years to find vets who qualified,” Carriere said. “Finally, a Woonsocket firefighter I know contacted me and said his brother would be interested. So [Glaude] came in and qualified, and it went before the board and got approved.”

Habitat is funded through donations from companies such as DryZone and Window World, and grants, and receives no federal, state or local aid, Plays said. The people working to put in a fire wall between the two units of the duplex last Saturday included volunteers and Habitat board members, she said.

“People come together to build homes for people who wouldn’t have had this opportunity otherwise,” Plays said. “We are not here to customize houses, we are here to build homes. That’s our mission.”

Construction has been hampered by the wet weather over the last few months.

“The basement was a pool,” Carriere said. “But the roof was recently put on, which has helped, and DryZone donated a basement system.”

During rainy Saturdays last year, volunteers worked in the Habitat warehouse in Manville to put panels together, Carriere said. 

When Habitat volunteer of 25 years and Builder-in-Chief Earl Marsh was asked when construction is expected be finished on the duplex, he laughed.

“Christmas is the goal. Subject to circumstances beyond our control of course,” he said. 

The weather, hard work and the fact that both veterans have disabilities have not deterred Collins and Glaude from working to reach their ultimate goal of home ownership. 

“I enjoy it, even with my disabilities. I’ve worked my whole life,” said Collins, who was a maintenance supervisor for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections for 20 years. “You just gotta do what you gotta do.”

Glaude is looking forward to moving in to a smaller, more manageably-sized apartment with just his wife now that all three of his children are grown, he said.

“It’s going to be not as big of an apartment, a nice size,” he said, and noted that he and Collins, “get along pretty good.”

“Scott has had some serious challenges,” Plays said of Glaude. “He’s the utmost story of someone needing to be in a Habitat for Humanity home. He checks all the boxes.”

Volunteers from women’s groups, churches and companies drop off lunch to the workers every Saturday, and last week, the crew sat down together in a future room on Glaude’s side of the duplex to enjoy meatball grinders and some dessert with a candle to celebrate Marsh’s 88th birthday the next day.

“It’s so great to sit down and just enjoy the camaraderie,” Plays said.

The second annual Habitat FORE Humanity Golf Tournament at Crystal Lake Golf Course in Burrillville will be held on Friday, Aug. 23, and all proceeds will go toward this veterans build. Habitat is looking for both sponsors and players. For more information visit www.habitatriwestbay.org

Collins, left, and Glaude enjoy lunch and camaraderie. NRI NOW photo by Karleen Kozaczka

Editor’s note: The above article originally stated that the property was purchased from the Burrillville Land Trust. It has been corrected.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Correction … there was some local money provided by the Town of Burrillville from Affordable Housing Board funds.

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