Students Spend Spring Break Volunteering in West Virginia

By: Todd Corillo Email
By: Todd Corillo Email

Some college students from New York are in West Virginia this week, taking part in Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge.

The Hamilton College students had a special assignment Tuesday.

Rather than help build a house, they helped tear down the Bowman Family's house in Franklin that was destroyed by a fire in January.

"Beginning of January, we had a fire that was you know fortunately not a total loss but in all essence it was a total loss for us," says Gabriel Bowman.

The Bowmans got a lot of help Tuesday from the Hamilton College students who helped do everything from tear out insulation to remove shingles from the roof.

One of the trip leaders, senior Emma Simmons, says, "You know we were in there and shoveling out all the burnt up insulation. It was really dusty and dirty work."

Her trip co-leader Scott Bickard, also a senior, said the demolition was almost fun for the students.

"A lot of us kind of like demolishing better. You don't have to worry about messing up," comments Bickard.

The students who have given up their Spring Break to serve say the reward comes from seeing the difference they've made.

"I feel really good about myself. Good to help these people out and just to meet some of the faces that we are actually helping and that we are working with has been good," adds Simmons.

The families who benefit say they'll always be thankful for the help from the Hamilton volunteers.

"It means a lot. I mean it's just something to see young people volunteering their time and serving people they don't know, so it means a lot to us, our family especially will be proud of Hamilton and grateful to Hamilton for the work they've done," says Bowman.

The Hamilton College students will be in Franklin through Saturday, working on projects throughout the community.

Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity expects close to 400 students will participate in the Collegiate Challenge between now and April. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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