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Volunteer construction: With team of 200, new Kingdom Hall going up in Radcliff

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By Becca Owsley

By BECCA OWSLEY

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bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com

RADCLIFF — Minus the blue shirts and Ty Pennington, the feeling on the site of the new Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall is a similar volunteer spirit as seen on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

A volunteer army from Jehovah’s Witness congregations throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana converged on Radcliff to help the local English and Spanish congregations build a new Kingdom Hall. People came from Evansville, Murray, Louisville and other cities.

With the help of the volunteers, construction of the building began May 1 and is expected to be complete by Sunday.

Volunteers get on-the-job training and safety training on site to make sure the buildings are well constructed and safe. According to congregation members, all Kingdom Halls are built this way and plans are ready for projects in Irvington and Shepherdsville.

The site has had a volunteer base of more than 200 people. Project managers make up various departments from mechanical and accounting to safety and food services. Construction is an organized and systematic process.

They are fortunate to have had no major injuries in a 100 percent volunteer work force, said Jeff Steen who assists in safety and first aid.

“We save an enormous amount of money in doing it this way,” said Harvey Johnson, an elder in the congregation.

By building with volunteers, the congregation is able to construct a functional building and save thousands of dollars in construction costs for the 200-member congregation.

“We don’t want to overburden the congregation with an expensive mortgage,” Johnson said.

The construction is representative of what the Jehovah’s Witness are doing worldwide, Johnson said, by building halls around the world in places such as Jamaica and South America.

The existing meeting place for the congregation was off Vine Street in Radcliff while the new location is off West Lincoln Trail Boulevard.

Congregation member Ingrid Carter has never worked on a building before and has enjoyed the challenge.

“You learn as you go and learn for the future,” Carter said. “They teach you everything and teach you the security procedures before you start to do everything correct so nothing happens.

“I’m joyful, because it is going to be our own and I see all the congregations come together here and share with their brother’s and sisters and have an amazing love,” Carter said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.