Tri-City Americans help build Habitat for Humanity home

November 5, 2013 

It was 48 degrees outside Tuesday morning, but it didn’t deter six Tri-City Americans players from putting in fours hours of work on a Habitat for Humanity house in Kennewick.

The three bedroom, 1 1/2 bathroom house on South Jean Place, is just a few doors down from the house the players worked on last year.

“Honestly, I wish we could have been here all day,” said Americans forward Connor Rankin. “I’m proud of the guys and how much work we have done. I’m happy to do this for a family who will be in here in time for Christmas.”

Helping Habitat for Humantiy is just one of several community projects the Americans are a part of each season. They also read to elementary school children, make hospital visits and ring bells for the Salvation Army during the holidays. The team donates more than 2,500 man hours per season to the community.

“It’s awesome to be out here helping a family,” said Americans team captain Mitch Topping, who noted it was his third year working on a Habitat for Humanity home. “We all take something away from this, and we all learn a few new skills. I really like to do this. I like watching something come together. It may be something I pursue after hockey.”

Sue Bannister, the Family Services Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity — and Rankin’s billet — said a family of four from Burma is scheduled to move into the house in December.

Families must put in 250 hours of their own time on their house, and a total of 500 hours, which can come from additional work and help from family and friends. The soon-to-be home owners already have 700 hours of sweat equity in their home.

While Topping and Phil Tot measured and cut tile, Jessey Astles was installing the tile pieces in the half-bath and small hallway.

Rankin, Brian Williams and Beau McCue were grouting tile in the kitchen and living room. And while Williams and McCue continued to grout, Rankin was cleaning the kitchen floor.

“When Brian is on his hands and knees, it’s for a good cause,” Rankin joked. “We haven’t done a whole lot for the house, but it’s nice to come down here and help out.”

Habitat for Humanity volunteer Fred Freeman of Kennewick said the players were doing a good job for never having installed tile before.

“It’s important work,” Freeman said. “We can’t move forward until the floors are down.”

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