Volunteer crews brave brutal heat to help Granbury neighborhood hit by tornadoes



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Posted on July 11, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 11 at 7:04 PM

GRANBURY -- The staccato sounds of construction echoed Thursday through a Granbury neighborhood where tornadoes killed six people and damaged dozens of homes in May.

With the sun straight up, and temperatures hitting 100 degrees, volunteer Eddie Darton could barely hit a nail. But he felt plenty hammered.

"I'm tired," he laughed, as we watched him switch arms to drive nails.

Darton was raising a home with the help of his co-workers from Alcon Labs in Fort Worth. Many tell us they've never done construction.

Despite brutal heat, volunteers are coming from all over to rebuild Granbury's Rancho Brazos neighborhood. 

"There were at least 300 hundred out here yesterday," said Brian Donnachie, a board member with Hood County Habitat for Humanity.

On another house Thursday, we saw workers from Chili's in Stephenville, Bank of America in Fort Worth, and Habitat for Humanity out of Waco. They were soaked in sweat.

“I've always said I was going to give back to the community -- help out my neighbors," Darton said.

This was his first time volunteering to build a house.

Crews sawed and hammered on three homes started by Trinity Habitat in Tarrant County. On Saturday, Hood County Habitat will dedicate a repaired home, start five more new ones, and then another eight on Monday, according to Donnachie.

Some Habitat organizations have paid staff. Not Hood County’s.

"We have not a paid soul,” Donnachie said, “and the amount of volunteers is staggering."

So is the amount of heat.

To be safe, they start at 7:30 a.m. and knock off by 1 p.m. But they want to work fast.

Some families who lost it all in the tornadoes are now looking to Habitat to help them rebuild their lives.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com