Building dreams in a small Nevada town |

Building dreams in a small Nevada town

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Tim Stenger, construction manager for Citizens for Affordable Homes, guides AmeriCorps and local volunteers while lifting a wall at a home being built on Duffy Court in Dayton on Monday.

DAYTON – A day honoring Martin Luther King Jr. is spent in the service of others. Organizers of the AmeriCorps’ Day of Service said Monday that it’s a “day on, not a day off.”

Seventy-five AmeriCorps and local volunteers labored on three homes in Gold Country Estates, a self-help home-building project managed by Citizens for Affordable Homes Inc. The day started at 9 a.m., and workers saw the sun only twice, said Michael Jensen, chief operating officer for the home builder.

“A community needs to take responsibility for their community,” he said. “And what we’re seeing here is 75 volunteers assisting in building a home for three families.”

Across the country, 75,000 AmeriCorps volunteers spent the day laboring for a community project. In Dayton, some of the volunteers came from Carson City, Fallon and Reno to work on homes for those on a lower income who cannot afford a down payment on a home. Volunteers came from the Great Basin Institute Nevada Conservation Corps, ComputerCorps in Carson City and the City of Reno Inclusion Support of Youth.

The cracking of hammers against wood and the sound of spinning circular saws reverberated down Duffy Court and Kramer Way.

Kristy and Jennifer McCrosky each have a home they are building on Duffy Court. The sisters will live one house away from each other in identical three-bedroom homes. When completed in April, their homes will be worth $170,000 each.

Jennifer McCrosky, 23, has put up her walls and sheeting. Nine volunteers and the construction manager stood on the wood platform that will soon be the home of 24-year-old Kristy.

“Some of the volunteers know what to do, and some don’t,” Kristy said. “This makes it hard, but now we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve showed them what they are doing, and they’re doing it.”

Tim Stenger, construction manager for Citizens for Affordable Homes, instructed the group of volunteers on how to build the wall between the kitchen and garage.

“It’s rewarding to see them work because they are here on their own to help the families build their homes,” he said.

Becky Stone and Jim Carrico, both 21, decided to make the trip from Reno on the invitation of a friend who is an AmeriCorps volunteer. Carrico has built houses in Mexico with his church. Stone is a novice at building.

“It’s been a productive day,” Stone said during a construction break. “I’ve learned a lot about building. I can use a hammer correctly, which is an accomplishment. But this is such a great project that I had never heard of before. How awesome is it that it makes people capable of affording their own home.”

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.