Friday, March 4


Striking Myers workers' labor assists local charities          Send a link to a friend 

[MARCH 4, 2005]  The inclement Midwest winter was no hindrance for the men sitting at the long tables. There was no grumbling about the cold or anything else as they gathered for an afternoon break on Wednesday. Invigorated and relaxed by the hours of hard labor, they joked, cajoled and talked of everyday things while eating cake and sipping coffee in the spacious dining hall at the Genesis Ministries Project.

Myers Industries laborers lost their union contract in November, when Myers refused to come to the negotiation table. Since that time Carpenters union Local 644 plant employees have been facing the elements, taking daily shifts at the "Patio" strike booth.

Watching the men, a person can see that they certainly haven't forgotten how to work. Their assistance on Wednesday and Thursday of this week benefits both Genesis and the local Habitat for Humanity projects. Some of the men plan to return on Monday to continue the work.

The Genesis facility is the old Bartmann Nursing Home on Nicholson Road north of Lincoln. A problem recently occurred that required many hands to resolve. A portion of the building was already being considered to be taken down when an unused wing extension on the north side lost its protective roof covering in a windstorm the first of January. The damage to the sealed-off part of the building was not discovered for several weeks. Damage from rain, snow and ice was extensive, and it was decided to take the section down. The sooner the better; sooner would result in more reusable materials.

Myers Industries, Habitat for Humanity and Genesis workers strategize removal of materials from Genesis rooftop.

Logan County Habitat for Humanity will receive the rafters, roof joists, plywood and wall forms. Those and other materials salvaged will be donated and recycled for other charitable building projects.

Habitat workers are between projects at present. Their board is working on raising funds to build future homes. In the meantime they have said they would like to help continue the Genesis building development.

The Myers men were joined by several Habitat and Genesis workers.

Genesis volunteers welcomed the assistance with great appreciation. A Genesis volunteer and board member, Nancy Vannoy, welcomed the workers with cooked and baked breakfast banana bread, soups and corn bread each day. Other volunteers prepared desserts. Genesis board president David Alexander came out and thanked the Myers workers for helping Genesis and Habitat for Humanity.

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The building was given to Genesis two years ago. It had not been properly shut down and sat empty for a couple of years. Restoration efforts began immediately when the group received it in March 2003.

The facility required major amounts of labor in order to make it operable and inhabitable. A small number of regular volunteers have toiled daily and weekly to restore the building. Church groups have also contributed labor on several scheduled workdays.

Genesis is a project in process that will house troubled women. The program will begin with a few women and expand. The program will focus on recovery, life skills and vocational training to help them to be reconciled back into their families and society.

Funding for materials and operation to this date has been through local donations. Christian Homes, Logan County Hardware and Johnson Lumber have been generous in goods. It is expected that grants will be more readily accessible once the doors are open.

The building is now coming closer to being ready to be occupied. The program structure is under development by the board of directors, and they actively seeking a director. The Genesis board anticipates opening the doors this year.

Anyone wishing to assist the Genesis development efforts can contact Butch King at (217) 671-041 or email

[Jan Youngquist]

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