Ken Knight and Jim Ouellette taught in the Vocational Trades program at Presque Isle High School. Ken taught drafting, and Jim taught students how to actually build. They were also respected builders in the area. Each summer, they took on one major construction project.
The two men had distinctly different temperaments. Ken had "sowed his wild oats" in his day, was still a little fiery, and was never shy to share his thoughts on any matter. Jim was quieter, steady, and meticulous. Both men had great senses of humor.
I met with them, got their construction history, and gave them a hand drawn sketch of the building we had in mind (I still have that sketch). The design was simple; we were basically building a big open box. The only partitions needed would be for the foyer, a sound room, an infant nursery, baptism changing rooms, restrooms, and my office. The sanctuary would have a cathedral ceiling. The entry and carport would have to be on the east end of the building; the winter winds blew from the west. That was a little disappointing; the entrance to the church would be unseen by the traffic that traveled Route 1.
Ken and Jim agreed to take on the building of the superstructure of our new building; we would finish the interior with the laborors we had in the church or subcontract the work.
Ted Jackson would do the electrical and Byron Harmon would do the plumbing and heating. We would sub-out the sheetrocking. Volunteers from our congregation would do all the painting; carpet installation; lug tons of shingles, studs, and siding; and keep the construction site clean as a whistle.
Soon I was at Washburn Trust, armed with architectural plans and financial information. Our meeting was with Albert Hobbs and Glenn Carson. During the conversation about a loan, Mr. Hobbs asked, "Bill, New Life has made a remarkable recovery, but you have a short financial history. What are you going to do if the church falls on hard times? How are you going to meet this monthly commitment?"
I assured him that I would personally collect bottles if necessary to make the payments. Then I added the famous preacher promise, "God will provide!"
Without blinking, Albert responded, "Can you get Him to co-sign?"