Region 9 students band together to build shed for paraplegic Hanover man

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MEXICO – Students in the Region 9 School of Applied Technology employability skills class are building a woodshed for a disabled Hanover man.

Instructor Jen Barlow said the shed will be donated to The Andy Project, a local fundraiser to build Andy Barlow a new home. Barlow has spina bifada, a birth defect where vertebrae develop abnormally. As a result, he has been paralyzed from the waist down most of his life.

“He is still extremely active outdoors and volunteers with the Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation and other programs,” Jen Barlow, his sister-in-law, said. “He’s just a really nice guy.”

She said Andy lives in a farmhouse built more than 100 years ago.

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“It’s really run down,” Jen Barlow said. “The only room that is accessible at this point is the bathroom. It’s beyond disrepair.”

She said people who knew Andy, including local subcontractors, residents, friends and family, agreed to raise money to build him a new house.

“There are an enormous amount of subcontractors who have donated their materials and their time to build his house, and people have been extremely generous in donating money to the cause,” Barlow said.

She said Howard Bailey, a builder from Andover, offered to volunteer as contractor and gathered subcontractors and suppliers to help. Work began July 20 on the house behind the old farmhouse, Barlow said.

While they were hoping to finish the house by the end of November, Barlow said “some glitches in construction” mean the finish date may be pushed back.

Barlow said 10th grade students Ricky Kneeland and Rider Gross, and 9th grade students Sean Dyment and Franklyn MacDonald agreed to build the shed as part of their community service, using materials donated by local businesses.

Andy burns wood for heat.

Gross and Kneeland said they have built picnic tables and benches for community service before and were happy to volunteer their time to build the shed for The Andy Project.

“Nobody even needed to ask me,” Gross said. “I know who Andy is. I would’ve helped either way.”

When the shed is done, Kneeland, Gross, Dyment and MacDonald will help move it to Barlow’s property and stack the wood in it.

A fundraising campaign with the nonprofit organization HelpHOPELive has raised $26,883 toward the $40,000 goal.

For more information, or to donate to The Andy Project, visit https://helphopelive.org/campaign/5346.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

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