A spectacular fall Saturday in central Illinois provided a perfect start for construction of a new home beginning with a mid-morning groundbreaking ceremony attended by an enthusiastic crowd of almost 90.
Weeks earlier, Patty Waldren told her cousin Teresa Gustafson of her ongoing work with Habitat For Humanity in the form of “sweat equity,” and that a suitable building site had recently been donated so she and her family and husband Larry could soon begin building their new home. Gustafson, who happens to be president of CWG Incorporated, a Morton, IL, excavating firm, immediately offered the use of the company’s Volvo EW170 wheeled excavator for digging the basement, truck loading and utility service trenching.
Starting hours before the 10 a.m. gathering, the basement excavation was well under way when the Volvo went from digging duties to becoming the centerpiece of the groundbreaking ceremony.
Due to a dry summer, the ground was nearly rock-hard so the EW170 “prepared” the soil for the ceremonial shoveling by giving the ground a shallow raking and then resmoothing it for a natural appearance. New gold bladed shovels were then strategically placed for the groundbreakers to use. The event was well attended by local media including several newspapers, a television station, one city councilman and several scores of neighbors, relatives and a number of Habitat volunteers.
The children seemed especially excited as the whole scene unfolded probably because of the construction equipment, all of the loudspeakers, guitar playing, cameras and lights and people, which gave such a festive atmosphere when combined with the beautiful weather.
As the ceremony was winding down, the Volvo resumed its task of excavating the basement measuring 53 by 30 ft. (16 by 9 m), which included a 2-ft. (.6 m) overdig and a depth of generally 6 to 6.5 ft. (1.8 to 1.9 m).
CWG’s Volvo EW170 wheeled excavator is used as an all-purpose machine that is most at home with roadside ditch cleaning as it is equipped with a Geith 72-in. (183 cm) wide bucket with side-to-side hydraulic tilt and just over a 1 yd. (.9 m) capacity, which works out great for truck loading, concrete removal and is, according to its operator, just a real Swiss Army knife for all-around work.
For the Habitat dig, McAllister Equipment of East Peoria, IL, donated the use of a 36-in. (91.4 cm) bucket with wide spade teeth.
After the balance of the day had passed the basement neared completion and with the water and sewer lines dug in and all completed, the Volvo tucked in its boom and bucket, raised its rear dozer blade and zoomed off at 20 mph to the next job site approximately 10 mi. away for a Monday morning start.