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Hammers and nails will replace laptops and books this weekend for more than seventy students and faculty in UT’s College of Business Administration.

The Tennessee Organization of Master of Business Administration students (TOMBA) will start building its eleventh Knoxville Habitat for Humanity house on Saturday, September 14.

The blitz starts at 7:30 a.m. at 3139 Johnston Street in Knoxville’s Lonsdale neighborhood. Construction will take seven to nine weeks.

This year’s build is for in-home caregiver Wanda Hines.

Hines lost her parents at an early age and then lost her adopted parents at age twenty-three. At that point, another woman unofficially adopted Hines, which got her interested in the foster care system.

Hines has been a foster parent to many. She has three biological children, has legally adopted two of the children she has fostered, and has maintained a relationship with several other foster children even after they aged out of the program at 18.

She has twelve grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Known as “Granny” to everyone, Hines has said she wants to provide a safe and loving environment for her extended family, some of whom have incarcerated parents or need extra attention. Three of the young family members Hines cares for will be living with her at her new house on Johnston Street.

The first walls of Hines’s new home are scheduled to go up around 9:00 a.m. Saturday.

“Four generations are going to enjoy this house,” she said.

Hines said she’s grateful to Habitat for Humanity and TOMBA.

“It is amazing that these kind people will take time out of their busy lives to help others better their own lives,” she said.

TOMBA is a UT student-run organization for full-time MBA students and faculty.


Mike Ehrhardt (865-603-3210,