MISHAWAKA, IND.--The city of Mishawaka holds a special place in Mayor Wood’s heart. He shows his love for the community by doing the best he can to make it an enticing place to live. Wood has several projects in the works for the city, but one he values above all others.
"I will never have a project that I feel more pride about than the one we just finished. I mentioned that we have been involved with Habitat for Humanity,” he said. “President Carter does one build a year, anywhere in the world. This last year, he chose Mishawaka.”During this last house raising, Wood, former President Carter and thousands of volunteers from all over the world descended on Mishawaka to build twenty-three houses in one week. These homes are part of a larger forty-home subdivision which will be built over the course of the next few years, which will eventually grow into an eighty-home development. “Our goal was to build a neighborhood. It was a lot of planning, but we wanted to leave a neighborhood behind us,” Wood said. This momentous build caught the attention of news stations across the globe, and reporters came from all over to interview those working on the houses. “We had national and international attention. The CBS Morning News was setting up tents and doing live broadcasts from Mishawaka. We had people coming in from all over the world to do interviews,” said Wood. The Habitat for Humanity build also generated a great deal of attention because of certain volunteers who were working alongside the Mishawaka mayor. “I got to work with President Carter and Rosalynn again, and I got to work with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood on my house for the entire week,” said Wood. The Mishawaka build was a huge success, but preparation of a location happened before the build could even commence. Luckily, the perfect site was found, and the city went to work providing the appropriate infrastructure. “Our site ended up being my old little league park that had been vacant for a couple of decades. On that site, we had to put in streets and curbs and sidewalks, city sewers, city water and city electric, and alleys,” said Wood. The project was a massive undertaking that had to be completed in a single week, but the thousands of volunteers worked tirelessly to accomplish the impossible. “We had to move faster than the speed of government, which we did,” said Wood.