Habitat for Humanity, MAS collaboration is good for both

By John R. Stone

It’s fun to hear good news and the collaboration between Habitat for Humanity for Prairie Lakes and Minnewaska Area School’s shop class is good news.

Students from school, in what us old folks call shop but is actually now called industrial technology, are building a house behind the school that will go to a family working with Habitat for Humanity.

It was fun to get an update on the project recently at the Habitat Hammer Breakfast at the Lakeside Ballroom. School officials seem to think the project is going well as do those from Habitat.

Come next spring or early summer the house will be moved to a lot in Starbuck and a Habitat family will buy the house basically for the cost of materials and some other purchased services.

School officials said the students are getting into the project; not only are they learning things, they are building something that will help a family get a leg up on home ownership.

I can see some of those students driving by that house in future years, pointing to it with pride, and saying “ I helped build that.” It really is something of which to be proud.

 The school hasn’t built houses recently because it is a lot of work for one person, such as a shop class teacher, to do. There is much more than just pounding nails; there is organizing the supplies and work schedule, keeping track of invoices for materials, getting it ready for sale and much, much more. With Habitat doing that part, the classroom part becomes much easier for the instructors, they can concentrate on the teaching part.

Overall this seems to be a great collaboration!


The Veteran’s Day program at Minnewaska Area High School was a dandy as usual.

As a Vietnam veteran it has always seemed strange to walk into an auditorium, such as this program has the vets do, to be recognized for military service. Back in the Vietnam War days a lot of people protested the war, some took it out on the soldiers. Some protestors saw military service as capitulating to a government action with which they disagreed. Most of us just thought we were doing what our country asked and knew that if we didn’t, we could go to jail.

Because of that atmosphere we learned to lay low and not say much about our service except in the company of others who had served.

That seemed to change on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center towers were leveled when two hi-jacked airplanes flew into them and two other planes crashed elsewhere. That seemed to make military service honorable again.

 For many years we have had an all-volunteer military which means that sometimes we forget about those who serve. When we had the draft, people from all walks of life got draft notices so military service reached into every community in a variety of ways. Now, with the volunteer military force, people slip out of the community without any fanfare as they head to basic training for their respective service.

That makes Veteran’s Day all the more important. We need to make a public statement that we support our troops and that serving in the military is an honorable and patriotic thing to do. 

So thanks to all who participated last week, especially the students of Minnewaska Area Schools. Your heartfelt thanks to all veterans expressed in song and greeting was wonderful, even if some of us are just now learning how to appreciate it!