It's not every day under the sun you see a first lady with a hammer and nail in her hands, putting in "sweat equity" on a house construction site with a score of fellow women workers.
But that was the scene yesterday on Hilltop Lane in Annapolis, where Frances Hughes Glendening came to work on a Habitat for Humanity project, a bright white town house for a 35-year-old widow and her two daughters.
"She was so down to earth, it seemed like you knew her forever," said District Court clerk Janice Tutt, as she and others nailed vinyl siding to the front of what will be Tutt's home come September.
"No man worked on this house," said Navy Petty Officer Jeremy Allen, 22, director of construction on the house next door. In all, four units of the "Hope Rising" town houses near Truxtun Park will be finished at roughly the same time, Arundel Habitat for Humanity officials said.
the house is part of a yearlong initiative endorsed by U.S. governors' wives, Glendening said. Titled "First Ladies Build," the goal is a new home in each state built entirely by Habitat for Humanity's female work crews.
Glendening said the project builds more than houses: "Pride and confidence, gained along the way, too. It's not something somebody gives, they help themselves."
Tutt is one of three single female heads of household who will live in the adjoining units. Since 1998, she has volunteered every Saturday on other Habitat for Humanity projects. "I volunteered on six other houses," she said.