Care-a-Vanners Joins Habitat’s PT Build Efforts

PORT TOWNSEND — Three couples — from three western states — have traveled by motorhome to this remote corner of the country, not just for sightseeing, but also to address the shortage of affordable housing.

“This is our first build after COVID reopening, said Meghan Marten of Ruidoso, NM, while taking a short break from work at an East Jefferson County Habitat for Humanity construction site in the Howard Street-Eddy Street neighborhood.

Marten and her husband Tom first met on another Habitat build over seven years ago. They have since become Care-a-Vanners, part of the traveling team of RV drivers who volunteer with Habitat affiliates in places like Port Townsend.

The Martens have also met their colleagues and friends, Janet and Dave Bachtel of Roseville, Calif., and Judith Noiseux and Hans Klaudt of Tucson, Arizona, on Habitat builds, and have since charted further forays such as these two. weeks assigned work.

Tom Marten has completed around 40 of these builds since his debut in 2008, his wife estimated, while she has worked on around 15 since his first in 2014.

While Tom, like the rest of this group, is retired, Meghan, a financial analyst, is taking a temporary break from her paid job.

On Habitat’s job boards, “we do a lot of the same things but in a different way,” which makes it interesting, she said.

They did almost everything from start to finish, from framing and flooring to installing lights and faucets. They laid slabs. They painted and painted some more. And Meghan, 40,’s favorite task is the roof.

“I really enjoy playing shingles” and all the learning that comes with it.

To become a Habitat for Humanity builder, you don’t need to know anything about building, she added.

“You can show up on the job site and someone will teach you, and over time you learn each thing and teach the next person,” said Meghan, who has extensive on-the-ground experience in cities. like Luck. , Wis., Lafayette, La., and Las Cruces and Santa Fe, NM

“Walla Walla was a great build,” she recalls, adding that she and Tom had never been to Port Townsend, but had heard from other Care-a-Vanners that this Habitat subsidiary was well run.

In the United States and around the world, Habitat for Humanity builds homes for singles, couples, and families who qualify for the Affordable Mortgage Program. Employing what’s called sweat equity, homeowners join other local volunteers — and sometimes visit Care-a-Vanners — to build their homes from the ground up.

The three couples in town this week are spending nights at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge, which offered discounted, utility parking for their motorhomes. This contribution ensured Habitat for Humanity East Jefferson County’s participation in the program, said Genevieve Peterson, marketing and communications manager.

Since arriving on April 25, “the RV Care-a-Vanners have really moved this house forward in terms of the work they have done: window and door cutouts and dents, blueboards, window installation, trim and corners “Said Peterson, adding the siding on the house is on the agenda for this week.

This house belongs to Katey, a young mother; she successfully applied to own Habitat — and when she found out she belonged in this neighborhood, she was thrilled because it’s within walking distance of where her mother, Mindy, lives. Katey asked that their last name not be used to protect their privacy.

The Care-a-Vanners, meanwhile, are set to return to Port Townsend for another two-week stay later this month, and then again in June, July and September.

“We hope construction will be complete and the home will be ready for occupancy by this fall, Peterson said.

To learn more about volunteering and supporting Habitat for Humanity East Jefferson County’s efforts to repair and build homes, visit Information about the branch in neighboring Clallam County can be found at


Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]