Tahlequah Daily Press


June 11, 2014

Birdhouses a highlight of Habitat fundraiser

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity volunteers are working on five projects around town, and they’ll be raising funds with a spaghetti dinner and birdhouse auction this Thursday at the Cherokee County Community Building.

“Volunteers make the birdhouses, then we dole them out to area artists who paint them and dress them up,” said Executive Director Linda Cheatham. “This year, we also have a quilt in the silent auction with a minimum bid of $100. The minimum bid for the birdhouses is $25, and we think they’re all worth more than that.”

Every year for 24 years, Dr. James Lewis sets the bids high, said Cheatham.

“He’s been coming since the beginning, bidding a high amount, $1,000 for the best birdhouse,” she said. “And he buys lunch for the nurses there.”

The fundraiser usually nets between $3,000 and $4,000.

The birdhouses, designed in several patterns, have been built by George Fulk in early spring for more than two decades – sometimes with help of different volunteers, including Shannon “Doug” Clark, and TAHFH homeowner-to-be Jason Rhoads.

“Habitat is providing a home for my family, we have three girls: Ava, 8; Alexis, 5, and Addison, 5,” Rhoads said. “It’s our home; when we put money down every month, it’s going to be our house, our mortgage.”

The birdhouses are made of cedar this year.

For the past six years, Traci Clark has been finding artists to paint the birdhouses.

“The original art from professional local artists gives them exposure and access by the local community to local art,” said Clark. “We have some fabulous talent.”

Some of the artists featured this year are Rev. Susan Hamilton, Mary Horsechief, Ken Foster, Joanne DeShong, Erin Owens, Vera Eidson and Dennis Tibbits.

One birdhouse is painted in a Van Gogh “Starry Night” design by Rev. Dr. Susan Hamilton. Dennis Tibbits painted his like a little fishing cabin on stilts on the river with a flat boat, complete with a miniature paddle.

“It’s the first one I’ve done,” said Tibbits. “You can see the river through the stilts. I turned the porch into a flat boat.”

Last year, his wife, Kathy, painted one, which he took to the auction for her.

“When I saw all the other birdhouses, I said I’d like to do one sometime,” Tibbits said. “It was fun. Habitat is a great organization; they do a lot of good for people who really need it. I admire them.”

Clark said her husband and children have made the fundraiser an annual family project.

“We’re raising our children up to do this,” said Clark. Everyone should contribute back to their community. We do other smaller projects, but this is our big thing.”


Tahlequah Area Habitat for Humanity’s spaghetti dinner and birdhouse silent auction, will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, June 12, at the Cherokee County Community Building. Tickets are $6 in advance at the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce, BancFirst, Habitat Surplus Store and Habitat office, 816 S. College Ave.; or $8 at the door.

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