One House, 36 Men, 144 Days

My Generation

What can a group of farm boys do when they put their efforts together? Take a look.

Published on: October 10, 2012

The emails have rolled into and out of our inbox for months. A silent tribute to thought, effort, details and the conscientious and consistent push forward. It's been, in a word, impressive.

A graduate of the University of Illinois and an alumni of Nabor House, a cooperative agricultural fraternity on campus, my husband John has served on their alum board for the past several years. Years that have seen an old house continue to deteriorate. A house that, even during my days on campus nearly 15 years ago, had its fair share of problems.

Anticipating the need, the board worked diligently over the past 10 years to rezone a neighboring lot, to draw up plans and to secure a builder. Then when new sprinkler system regulations were to kick in this year - requiring a $75,000 investment in an old house - the board pulled the trigger. They launched a massive fundraising campaign just over a year ago, and raised more than a million dollars in a matter of months. These guys put their heart and soul into it, and their families, too. The board president's mother made flower arrangements for the kickoff (she should hire out) and his wife coordinated pretty much everything else (she should hire out, too). Yours truly designed a fundraising brochure. We helped pick out paint and carpet. (Carpet in the study rooms is called "Crop Rows." Could it be any more perfect?) John and our oldest, Jenna, even painted the Library a lovely "Marblehead Gold," which is, incidentally, the same color as the Prairie Farmer field office.

Before and after. 144 days. Done.
Before and after. 144 days. Done.

The grand plan was to have the new house built by Homeway Homes, which meant "mods" would be built in their factory, delivered to the site and stacked up like legos. Pretty darn cool, really. So within days after graduation last May, the old house came down. The foundation was dug. The basement was poured. And the mods began going into place. Then came electrical and wiring. Then a hold-up courtesy of Ameren. That was worked out and finally - cue the Hallelujah Chorus - the guys moved into the new house exactly a week ago.

Pretty darn cool, again. A great house for a great group of people, with a great history.

And proof positive that a group of farm boys can get big stuff done. In 144 days.

(Click here for a look at photos and video of the entire process. Again, cool.)