Thursday, March 25, 2010 2:55 PM

Local carpenters donate skilled hands to building Terry’s House

Local area carpenters are taking time on their days off to volunteer thousands of hours to help construct Terry’s House, a two-story home within walking distance of the main entrance of Community Regional Medical Center that will accommodate patient’s families who have nowhere to stay or cannot afford hotels.

“It’s a very good cause, several of our members have already been through the trauma center and know what it’s like not having a place to stay,” said Billy Reeves, the Carpenters Union business field representative and local finance secretary. “We started a group from our union a few years ago. Carpenters who Care go out into the community and do work especially for the elderly and widows or for charity. Our members are hard-working, giving people who are dedicated to making the community a better place.”

He estimates they will volunteer anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 hours to help construct Terry’s House.
Terry’s House will be a 17,000-square-foot, two-story home that will have 20 guest rooms with private baths and refrigerators to accommodate the families of trauma patients during their recovery. It will also have a guest kitchen, guest dining room, laundry room, healing garden, family resource center and children’s activity room. 

Reeves heard about Terry’s House on the radio and through good Friend Jeff Kroeker of Kroeker, Inc. He immediately knew Carpenters who Care members would enjoy helping the cause and after presenting the idea they all enthusiastically agreed to help.

Kroeker, co-chair of the Terry’s House Development Council and treasurer/secretary of Kroeker, Inc. said he wanted to involve the carpenters group because they have always been community minded and knew they would immediately step up to help.

 “We need a lot of strong backs and a lot of people coming together for this project, either by donating their time, money, materials or labor because it’s all about community involvement,” he said. “Terry’s House is a community project; the more people that get involved the better.”

Volunteering and donating manual labor is nothing new to the carpenters; they have donated thousands of hours on various community construction projects such as Extreme Home Makeover, the Craycroft Youth Center and Fresno Cat Haven, and are now adding Community Medical Foundation to the list. 

Jim Higgins, the Carpenter’s Who Care president and local Carpenter’s Union Local 701 treasurer, said he was once hospitalized at a time his family had suffered a financial hit. He needed to have surgery, and his family drove four hours back and forth to visit him during recovery. His wife slept in their truck overnight to save money instead of paying for a hotel room. Higgins hopes his involvement in building Terry’s House will save another family from going through the same thing.

“It’s a good cause, I hope my help will be one family’s relief of stress,” he said.

Reeves said the 25 to 40 volunteer carpenters will be on call starting in March to begin the foundation and framing of Terry’s House. They will assist in areas needed from pouring concrete, framing walls, constructing the roof, encapsulating the building and finalizing the interior finish.  The carpenters  are volunteering at Terry’s House on the weekends or in their free time during the week if they are not scheduled to work.

Kayla Franklin is a Carpenter’s Union member of over 10 years committed her time to do any work needed on Terry’s House, from concrete work to wood work:

“I would work a 40-hour week at Terry’s House if I’m available. I want to give families the security of knowing they can get a shower and a good night’s sleep.  It's just one burden I can take off their shoulders.”  
The construction and maintenance of Terry’s House is entirely dependent upon private gifts and contributions. Community Medical Foundation is reaching out to the community to help build Terry's House. To help by giving a monetary contribution or for more information on Terry's House, contact Community Medical Foundation at (559) 459-2670.

This story was reported by Malissa Rose. She can be reached at