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Through Habitat for Humanity, women learn the power of tools

By Sherry Greenfield sgreenfield@herald-mail.com

Before they pick up a hammer and nails, women came to Habitat for Humanity of Washington County on Wednesday night for a lesson on properly using tools.

The nonprofit organization, which builds houses for low-income residents in the county, held a workshop for 15 women planning to construct the next Habitat for Humanity house in Smithsburg, starting in April.

"This is great experience for when you're out on the job site in Smithsburg, as well as your own homes," Amy Gulino, the nonprofit's director of development and marketing, told the women before the workshop. 

"Women Build Clinic: The Power of Tools" also was a part of International Women's Build Week and the Women's Build initiative, which encourages women internationally to make a difference in their communities.

The workshop was intended to educate the women who will build a house at 16 West School Lane in Smithsburg.

The property was donated to Habitat of Humanity of Washington County in 2016, the organization's website says. The home will be a one-story ranch-style home. As the project moves forward, the committee will select a potential homeowner based on need and completed requirements.

"We will hopefully break ground in April," Gulino said.

Amos McCoy, with Associated Builders and Contractors of Washington County, taught Wednesday's workshop.

McCoy spent an hour demonstrating how to safely use hammers, power tools and saws. He drove home the importance of wearing safety glasses to prevent unintended injuries.

He also stressed the importance of replacing cracked, splintered or broken handles on everything from hammers to screwdrivers.

"I have a lot of experience with safety in all areas of construction," McCoy said before the workshop.

Cassandra Billotti of Smithsburg said she came to learn how to use power tools.

"We do a lot of home renovations, but my husband tends to use the power tools," she said. "I'm the painter."

Billotti, who plans to help build the Smithsburg house, said she got a warning from her husband before leaving for the workshop.

"My husband said, 'Come back with all (your) fingers,'" she joked.