As a former project manager for many Fredericksburg area homes, Naomi Knutti Duggins ’01, knows all about the importance of foundations. “Without a strong foundation, there will be nothing to support the building. Any building without the proper foundation will cave and collapse.”
But her appreciation for good foundations began long before she stepped on a construction
site. Naomi clearly remembers meeting a young man named Joe Duggins (’01), during their freshman year at FCS. They quickly became friends, and Naomi was immediately struck by his “strong, godly foundation.” The couple began dating in their junior year, and Joe’s relationship with Christ was a strong influence on Naomi’s walk with the Lord.
Through an internship at Ryan Homes during her junior year at JMU, Naomi discovered her love for the construction process. “I loved being out on the site and seeing all the progress taking place.” Shortly after graduating from college, Joe and Naomi married, and Naomi began her career as a project manager at Ryan Homes.
However, as their family grew to include three children (Jack, in second grade; Luke, in
kindergarten; and Audrey, who is two), Naomi had a real desire to spend more time at home with her family. As much as she loved her job at Ryan, she and Joe agreed that a part-time position would be an ideal solution, even though it would mean taking a pay cut.
At the same time, FCS superintendent, Rick Yost was looking for someone to lead the building project for the new Lower School building. Rick and the board wanted someone who was well-qualified and experienced, but also someone who had an understanding and appreciation of the ministry and values of FCS. Naomi was an obvious choice, and when Rick approached her, he was delighted to hear how the Lord had already been preparing Naomi for this opportunity.
It was exactly what Joe and Naomi had prayed for.
Now the Project Leader for the new elementary campus building project, Naomi serves as the liaison between the school and the building team. Her knowledge and expertise are evident as she explains the building process.
One of the first steps in the building process involved testing the site’s soil for strength, density, and contamination. “If you want a foundation to remain strong through the most difficult of storms, you can’t build on weak, contaminated soil,” explains Naomi. Once the new soil is in place, the footers will be laid for the foundation. “The footers support each wall and point load from the steel structure. Once you lay the footers, the next step is to let the concrete cure. If it isn’t allowed to fully set before you put weight on it, it can compromise the integrity of the foundation. You have to give it time.”
“Another important piece of the foundation is adding rebar into the footers, which provides
strength and will help the concrete footers support the weight of the building.” Rebar absorbs and distributes the tension that is caused when concrete expands and contracts due to changes in the surrounding climate.
One can’t help but draw parallels to the importance of building on a strong biblical foundation.
A solid foundation of faith cannot be built on faulty soil, and we are dependent on God to
remove our contaminated thinking and replace it with His truth. As a body of believers, we’re called to act as those footers, building each other up in the faith and encouraging one another as we live out our faith. When the stresses of life and tensions between one another arise, we are dependent on the rebar of God’s word to help us stand strong despite our circumstances.
Naomi and Joe rely on such support each day as they point their children to Christ. Naomi
considers it a privilege to be part of building this new facility where her own children, along
with many others, will receive the same strong Christian education she and her husband did.
“To know that so many will hear the Truth every day and build a strong foundation on Christ is so exciting.”