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We Still Believe

Wakulla native a Sheetrock pro Rocky Locklear said he got interested in the drywall trade as a young

WAKULLA -- Rocky Locklear of Wakulla has made a career of living the “Sheetrocker’s Dream,” a way of life for many Lumbee construction workers. Locklear is one of the many talented contractors who does work for the Lumbee Tribe’s housing program. Locklear has been working in the drywall industry for nearly 40 years now, starting as a young teenager in the mid-1970s. He is shown applying sheetrock mud to the interior walls of a home the tribe is building on Whistling Rufus Road in the Prospect community near Pembroke. Locklear said he expects to have the final coats of mud applied this week as the walls of the home will then be painted. Lumbee tribal members are regarded as some of the top drywall workers in the world. Lumbee first started working with sheetrock in the late 1950s and reached a peak of their work during the 1980s and 1990s. Though, the trade has fallen on hard times with the recent downturn of the housing market, Sheetrock contractors have noticed a pickup in work recently as the housing market continues to improve. Locklear said he became interested in sheetrock work as a young boy in the 1970s after his father the late Riley Locklear Sr. built his family a new home on Mt. Zion Church Road in the Wakulla community near Red Springs. He said he was amazed at how their bathtub was molded perfectly into the wall. “I use to stare at it all the time and I wondered how they did that. I was so use to living in houses with cracks in the walls I had never seen anything like that. I made up my mind then that that’s what I wanted to do and I’ve done it ever since,” Locklear said. Since that time, he has become one of the area’s top finishers in Sheetrock. He is no longer amazed at how a home’s bathtub seems to fit seemlessly into a wall. He has become a pro at making them fit that way. And, he is still living the sheet rocker’s dream.

The Lumbee Tribe offers New Construction to low-income families who potentially would not be eligible for conventional loans through a lending institution. The homeownership program is for qualified first time homeowners. The Lumbee Tribe will construct the home and act as the lender. Homes may be built on the owner’s land, or in a tribal subdivision. The New Construction program operates on a first-come, first-serve basis; therefore, there is a waiting list.

To Apply, the applicant:

* Must have an annual family income which is sufficient to pay administration fees, utilities and upkeep costs;

* Must have the potential for maintaining at least their current income level based on the national median income guidelines;

* Must be a first-time homeowner;

* Must be an enrolled Lumbee;

* Must be below 40% to 80% of the national median income; and

* Must have an approved criminal background.

The applicant may not have received prior housing assistance from the Lumbee Tribe or any other governmental housing agency for construction of a new house, and must be willing and able to meet all obligations of the Homeownership Program. Anyone interested in the Lumbee Tribe’s new housing program can call New Construction Manager Anthony Holden at (910) 521-7861.


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