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Seery, Hillier happy to serve on Habitat house

By Jon Bishop

HARVARD — Kevin Seery and Dan Hillier, both students at Bromfield School, never expected it would be like this.

They thought they’d just complete 40 hours of community service required for their senior project with the Ayer Habitat for Humanity committee and then move on.

Not so.

“When we saw how Habitat worked, we really wanted to see it through to the end,” Hillier said.

Seery was the first to find out about Habitat — his mom told him — and then he brought Hillier along for the ride. Seery is originally from Ayer, but now lives in Harvard. Hillier lives in Shirley.

“It was pretty cool to meet everyone there,” Seery said. “I think Habitat’s pretty invested in Ayer.”

And though neither of them live in town, Hillier said, “it was nice to be welcomed by everyone.”

Both of them are going to help with the Habitat project at 76 Central Ave., which broke ground on Oct. 6. The plans call for a duplex, and it should be finished by March.

The home’s cost is $310,000, and part of that, depending on how successful the group’s fundraising efforts are, could come from from Ayer taxpayers, which recently approved a $100,000 appropriation from its Community Preservation fund at Special Town Meeting.

“I’m looking forward to starting to help build,” Hillier said.

“Swinging the hammer’s the fun part,” Seery added.

And it’s not like they’re inexperienced: Both are involved with Bromfield theater, and they’ve helped construct sets for plays.

They haven’t been excluded, either, because of their age. Quite the contrary. They’re just as involved as the other members.

“Lately, we’ve been just talking about fundraising,” Hillier said.

“Everything right now, it’s a lot of brainstorming,” Seery said.

What’s great about this is that it’s showing them they can make a difference. “It’s nice to see that, even though we’re in high school, we can get a lot done,” Hillier said.

So what will they do after they finish their project?

“It’s kind of hard to plan that far in the future, but I’m sure we’ll see construction as far as we can,” Hillier said.

Maggie Monroe-Cassel, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of North Central Massachusetts, said she’s happy to have Seery and Hillier on board, as well as the other volunteers.

“We are so happy to have several local schools and universities partner with Habitat for Humanity. They work hard and often do very unglamorous jobs that need to get done,” she said. “We hope to see many students at our Ayer build throughout the winter.”

Hillier hopes so, too.

“Come help build,” he said.