Geneva Eagle Scout learns while helping others

“He’s getting an education,” Robert Griffiths remarked as he watched his grandson, Nicholas, struggle to figure out how long to make the ramp he was constructing. Nicholas, 14, is building the ramp at 30 Chestnut St, Seneca Falls, the home being constructing by Habitat for Humanity volunteers, for Mike and Leeanne Teufel and their two sons. Mike Teufel has muscular dystrophy and has been in and out of a wheelchair for several years.For his Eagle Scout project, Nick recruited 15 boys and adults from Troop 3 in Geneva to help pay for and build a 24-foot ramp. It was tricky to figure out how long the ramp had to be to achieve the required 5 degrees of incline, he said. The math was a challenge, he admitted, but he learned that “hard work pays off.” His troop has helped with fund raising for the project, selling drinks at the Van Cleef Lake fireworks, for example, as tries to make his $2,500 goal. He learned “its good to be patient when working with others,” Nick said. His grandfather helps him as he “pays it forward.”Sandy Ferrara from Generations Bank and construction chair Lou Ferrara Jr. pitched in to give Nicholas Griffiths a hand with his Eagle project.One Saturday Nick received help from a new volunteer, Jessica Riegle of Phelps. As she helped shovel dirt to backfill the ramp, she said she read an article about the project in the Finger Lakes Times, and “decided to come and help a friend.”Other volunteers are showing up as well. Recently, Cory Bunn and volunteers from IBEW #840 electrical union installed the wiring and control panel in the three-bedroom, fully handicapped accessible home. Local plumber Joe Caratozzolo installed the plumbing. “He did a great job with the shut off valves at the back of a closet, “ said Karen Simon, Habitat Board President who is on the site each work day. Inspectors are expected to check on the work soon, she said.Already checking out the project was George Edwards and his three daughters, Chrese, 15; Monika, 14; and Passion, 12 of Seneca Falls. Edwards, who is a maintenance worker for Seneca County, and is disabled, currently lives in a trailer park at 13 VanRenselaer St., but he’s looking forward to being a future owner of a Habitat-built home. “A lot of people I work with told me about the program,” he explained. Edwards contacted Seneca Housing and took their first-time homeowners course. “I’m looking forward to helping build our house as much as I can. The girls will help, too, especially with the yard work.” Homeowners are required to put in a specified number of sweat equity hours to qualify for Habitat’s no-interest mortgage.As his Eagle Scout project, Nicholas Griffiths is building a ramp to make the Habitat home at 30 Chestnut St. Seneca Falls handicapped accessible.Volunteers are needed on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is preferred, but not required, that volunteers notify Habitat in advance, especially if a group is coming. For more information about volunteering or making a donation, contact Habitat for Humanity at volunteer@habitatseneca.org. Habitat for Humanity of Seneca County, NY, is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 2 million people. Habitat in Seneca County was established in 1999. The group has built or renovated 14 homes, having just completed renovation work on number 14, on Wycliffe Ave., Waterloo. Projects 15, 16, 17 and 18 are under way in Seneca Falls, two on Miller Street, and one each on Chestnut and White Street. Habitat has tentatively identified projects 19 (in Seneca Falls) and 20 (in Waterloo) and has a family waiting in the south end of the county for a location. Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with people in need to build homes or renovate existing homes to create decent, affordable housing. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged. Mortgage payments received by the affiliate are used to build more homes.

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