By Mark Newman, News Staff
Jo-Ann Savoie admits she really hasn’t built anything big in her life.
“A bird house, does that count?” joked the Hamilton police sergeant and Division 3 crime manager.
Savoie will be joining several other Mountain police women and local female law enforcement officials in the coming weeks on a Habitat for Humanity project to build a two-storey house on Knapmans Drive in the east end.
The home with a fully accessible first floor is for the Arezina family, including six children, two of whom require wheelchairs.
The family currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment.
“The great thing about Habitat is they have (training) sessions before anyone is allowed to put any power tool in their hand,” said Savoie, who is also the fundraising chair of the Women in Law Build group that was created to partner with Habitat for Humanity on the project.
The group includes auxiliary and civilian police staff, along with bylaw officers, lawyers and crown attorneys.
Sgt. Myra James, another Division 3 crime manager, is among the driving forces behind the group.
She was part of a similar Habitat for Humanity home build in Ottawa in 2007 while serving as president of Ontario Women in Law Enforcement.
“That was a great experience,” said James, who wanted to do a similar project in Hamilton.
She noted the city donated the land for the house and while a ground breaking was held earlier this month, actual construction is about seven or eight weeks away, with completion expected by next spring.
“Right now, the architects are working on the plans,” James said.
James noted the project is an excellent team-building exercise for the women (and some men) and many of them will pick up construction skills they didn’t have previously.
“Any home that is built by Habitat for Humanity … a minimum of a thousand people in one way or another participate in that build,” James noted.
James said they want to raise $150,000 to cover the cost of the new home and so far about $30,000 has been collected or pledged.
A fundraiser is slated for Oct. 27 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hamilton Police Association building on Upper Wellington.
“Our event is called Girls Night Out,” said Savoie.
She noted the fundraiser will feature a variety of vendors aimed at women interested in doing some early Christmas shopping.
The event will also include food, entertainment and prizes.
A second fundraiser called Vegas Meets Hamilton, featuring live music, a charity casino and a silent auction, will be held on Feb. 11 at Carmen’s.
Tickets and ticket information for the two fundraisers can be obtained via email at President@owle.org.