It was an emotional morning for a St. Thomas woman and her two kids as Project Hope and a community of volunteers rallied around them to build a two-bedroom house over the next three days.
Profits from the sale of the home will be donated to the Nooren family, who lost 43-year-old husband and father Johnny Nooren last summer after a battle with cancer.
Project Hope was launched after his passing with Doug Tarry Homes organizing what will be a Net Zero home, meaning the home will be designed to create as much energy as it uses over the course of a year.
Nooren was a building inspector who always loved taking on ambitious ideas, and the community is rallying around to support his wife, Angela, and two young children.
“I tried waterproof mascara this morning,” said Angela, “because I was like ‘there’s no way I’m going to make it to noon before I lose my mind!’ The roof put me over the edge. I knew it would. It’s symbolic, you know, raising something up.”
The project, which started at 6 a.m. Friday, is being supervised by a team of professionals to provide site logistics and ensure the build exceeds code requirements. Framing, which normally takes around a week for a typical home, is expected to be completed by a 2 p.m. Friday.
Angela Nooren added that she feels like her husband played a role in the build from heaven.
“I feel like I’m in that movie, P.S. I Love You,” Angela said through tears, “where he is continuing to sweep me off my feet even after he’s gone.”
The new leader of the federal Conservatives, Andrew Scheer, stopped in St. Thomas to meet with volunteers with Project Hope before speaking with the media.
“This is so wonderful to see,” he said. “This is what communities like St. Thomas are all about. I’ve got a lot of small communities in my own riding in Saskatchewan, and this is what living in these communities is like. When someone faces a challenge or hardship, people just rally around.”
For more information on Project Hope, and to keep up with the progress, visit their Facebook page.