High Country Home Builders Assoc. Donates To Schools, Youth at Annual Chili Cook-Off

Published Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 11:35 am

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By Jesse Wood

The High Country Home Builders Association held its annual “Past Presidents’ Chili Cook-off,” which Sam Zimmerman of Sunny Day Homes won in a landslide, on Monday evening at the Builders Plaza on the N.C. 105 Bypass.

A few tasty versions of fairly spicy chili and cool beverages went down well during a presentation from building construction manufacturer Simpson Strong-Tie. But more importantly, the association and its members donated more than $2,000 for the Watauga High School Construction Technology Scholarship Fund and the Watauga Education Foundation.

HCHBA Board Member David Moore of DM Builders presented WHS Construction Technology teacher Jason Matthews two checks of $600 made out to the Watauga High School Construction Technology Scholarship and the Watauga Education Foundation.

“We are always looking for ways to give back to the community,” Moore said, adding that the association “naturally gravitated” to local youth interested in a career in the construction field. “It seemed natural to partner with kids learning and trying to get into a field that we are in.”

Matthews talked about the skills gap between youth and the construction trade that exists locally and across the nation.

“We are trying to meet that,” Matthews said. “Its really a neat thing to see a student actually get something, when he or she gets it and the emotion on their face is telling.”

Moore and the association praised the work Matthews does at the high school, and the appreciation was reciprocated. Both noted that the relationship between the construction class and the builders association is mutually beneficial.

Matthews encouraged any of the contractors to come and speak to the WHS construction class – to talk about their field and to mention what kinds of workers are being sought.

“Some of these guys are going into college, some have scholarships and some guys are going right into the workforce. They are going to be looking for jobs,” Matthews said. “These guys are willing to learn and take on something.”

Matthews also announced that earlier in the day, his students participated in a regional Skills USA competition and came in first and second place. The funds donated to the class at the chili cook-off were going to fund the trip to the state competition.

“This will definitely help with that,” Matthews said. “We are really appreciative of this.”

During the meeting, a few unexpected contributions were announced.

Stacey Miller, a new building inspector for the Town of Boone, won a raffle for a Quick Drive auto-feed screw driving system for decking and immediately gave it to Matthew to use at the construction class at Watauga High School.

Buck Wellborn, owner of Wellborn Insulation, stood up and announced that the company was donating $1,000 to help out Matthews and the students learning the construction trades at WHS.

“He likes what I do, and I like what he does,” Wellborn said of Matthews in the spontaneous announcement.

And an association member named Jeff, who won a raffle for a playhouse constructed by the WHS construction technology class with materials provided by the association, said that he had recently installed the house near the soccer fields at Brookshire Park for all of the community to enjoy.

Also, the members talked about the association’s annual project for the Watauga Habitat for Humanity. In June, members will start working on the shelling and roofing for a four-bedroom house in the Habitat’s GreenWood community near Green Valley School. So far the association and its members have donated more than $15,000 in materials and labor for the project.

For more information about the High Country Home Builders Association, whether you are a consumer or a professional in the industry, click to www.highcountryhba.com or call 828-297-6566.

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Chuck Perry, HCHBA President

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Chili served at Monday night’s cook-off.

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Simpson Strong Tie reps pitch products to the contractors in attendance.

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HCHBA Board Member David Moore of DM Builders presented WHS Construction Technology teacher Jason Matthews two checks of $600 made out to the Watauga High School Construction Technology Scholarship and the Watauga Education Foundation.

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WHS Construction Technology teacher Jason Matthews

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HCHBA Board Member David Moore of DM Builders presented WHS Construction Technology teacher Jason Matthews two checks of $600 made out to the Watauga High School Construction Technology Scholarship and the Watauga Education Foundation.

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HCHBA Executive Officer Jennifer Mackey stands with HCHBA President Chuck Perry.

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Sunny Day Homes owner Sam Zimmerman won the chili cook off.

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Buck Welborn of Wellborn Insulation earned some good karma. After announcing that his company was donating $1,000 to help local students in the construction trade, he won a $65 raffle put on by the association.

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