Students travel for Habitat for Humanity

Group of Habitat for Humanity workers pose for a photo on last day of work.

Amanda Smith, Staff Reporter

The Habitat for Humanity group traveled to Woodland Heights Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Missouri, for spring break to help Springfield’s Habitat chapter and enjoy a unique experience away from home. Fifteen students and two faculty members went on the trip.

The group helped dismantle six dirt ramps, remove the cinderblocks, build six porches, and create six walkways to new steps. The group managed to surprise the people in charge of the construction site with how fast they worked by completing the project in only three days.

“Having worked with this group for the past few years, it was no surprise to me [how fast they work], but seeing them so happy with the work we accomplished was great,” said Nate Dehne, vice president for student development and advisor for Lakeland’s Habitat chapter.

The last project the group helped with was salvaging steel door frames, ceiling tiles, wall studs, and electrical outlets from a building that was going to be remodeled into a small hotel. They helped knock in sheet rock to expose the wood underneath.

“It’s truly amazing to be able to spend a week with a group of individuals that are selfless and have big enough hearts to donate their time to someone else,” said Karissa Anderson, sophomore education major.

Highlights of the trip for the students included building stairs and railings, doing construction, and helping with demolition at the building being remodeled, as well as meeting everyone from the Springfield Habitat for Humanity chapter.

Other activities that were enjoyable included hanging out with everyone during down time, walking to Sonic for a bite to eat, visiting Lambert’s Café together, and listening to student Alex Piekarski sing songs that he made up on the spot.

The first working day was also when the local TV news station showed up to do an article about the group.

“This is a first, to my knowledge, that this group has been recognized publically for the work we do,” said Kimberly DeJong, junior psychology and sociology major and president of Lakeland’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.

Brittaney Prosser, residence hall director of Krueger and a chaperone on the trip, said, “To hear… the [Springfield] habitat people repeatedly thank us and the fact that they called the local news crew on us just shows how grateful they were to have us help them out for the week.”