Thursday, March 6, 2008

Day four - Another productive day is at an end

I continue to be humbled daily by the efforts and accomplishments of our students that surrounded me and that I am privileged to work with. These are truly special people and have represented UNC Asheville very very well.

Today was another highly successful day at all three work sites. Megan Graham continues to do a spectacular job at the Walkers location, while Erin Ball is equally efficient and outstanding at both Decatur sites. I continue to be amazed at the compassion, work ethics and desire for excellence exhibited by all our students. Both yesterday and today were filled with examples of personal courage and selfless service. The senior Americops staff member at Walkers has continually praised everyone for their motivation, skills and desire for excellence. He stated that our UNC Asheville students have out-performed every other group this year, been more motivated and approached each task with a genuine desire to do any and every task necessary. All three locations have daily exceeded their respective work plans and pushed each and every project forward by days. Each and every student is now working independently on projects and our Habitat and Americorps coordinators are working on separate projects during the day.
I am amazed by the cooperation and willingness to push personal boundaries by every student present this year. Individuals with a fear of heights are climbing ladders, lifting and placing sheathing boards and nailing them in from a height of 25 feet. Others are crossing trusses as easily as they would cross sidewalks on campus to nail in cross beams, place blocks and other timber. The remaining students are performing the countless tasks necessary to ready the buildings for roofing, siding and interior work. Everyone student has eagerly asked for additional work and when asked, has replied in a self-deprecating manner to say that their efforts were minor at best. The Walkers group met Jerrius (the future home owner) both yesterday and today. He, his fiancée and daughters were very appreciative of everyone's efforts and could not give enough thanks to everyone. He provides ice cold water and soda today for everyone, greatly appreciative on a warm day!

Each and every student has had a personal accomplishment over both days that deserves personal comment, I only wish that I had the opportunity to record them. I am very confident in saying that the future of our University and culture if these students could be considered the norm for their peers.

We went into New Orleans today and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to experience the NOLA culture and un-wind just a bit. The entire groups was singing on the return trip, as well as extolling the efforts of the men's basketball team! Go Dog's.

It seems that we have only arrived, yet all three work sites attest to the fact that we arrive and set the standard high for accomplishment! Students volunteer daily to help Americops staff serve meals. The HFH staff have often commented that they wish it were possible that UNC Asheville students could come each and every month.

The efforts of our students have ensured that the residents of St Bernard Parrish know that they are not forgotten and that people are still willing and able to assist them in recovering their lives.

Greg Dillingham
UNCA Staff representative

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