July 11, 2011
UNIONTOWN, Wash. - Eight representatives of the Washington State University men's basketball program helped with the construction of a house just south of Uniontown, Saturday, July 9, as part of a project for Palouse Habitat for Humanity.
"It's good for us to get out in the community," rising-senior Marcus Capers said. "People really appreciate stuff like this, us taking from the little free time we have, to go out and help. Anytime we're given the opportunity to do something like this, I'm willing to help out and so are my teammates. It was a good experience."
Over 40 members of WSU Athletics' staff participated in the project, including 27 student athletes from not only men's basketball, but also the football and volleyball teams. Men's basketball participated in the four-hour afternoon session. Representing the men's basketball program were returnees Faisal Aden, Marcus Capers and Mike Ladd, who redshirted last year, along with newcomers Chuks Iroegbu, DaVonté Lacy, D.J. Shelton and Royce Woolridge and operations assistant Tim Marrion.
"It's even better for guys like D.J., DaVonté, Chuks and Mike, who aren't established yet, to go out and let people see that they're not just hoopers and they have a presence off the court as well," Capers said. "We're building a better image off the court, which I think is important for the program."
Numerous tasks were accomplished during both morning and afternoon sessions, including, but not limited to, the installation of windows and a sliding glass door, the covering of the outside of the house with house wrap, and construction of the roof. The student-athletes worked alongside the woman who the house is being built for, Sarah Keller, who will live in the home with her two sons.
"On behalf of WSU Athletics' staff and student-athlete participants, I would like to thank Palouse Habitat for Humanity for allowing us the opportunity to take part in such a meaningful project," WSU Athletics Coordinator of Career Development and Community Service Kari Sampson said. "Assisting in the building of Sarah Keller's home was such a gift to all of those who participated. Although our construction skills varied across the board, we were in unison with our purpose; providing willing and able bodies to produce a little hard work for a larger and greater cause. We can't wait to see the final product."
Palouse Habitat for Humanity's mission is `To serve our neighbors in need by helping to eliminate poverty housing on the Palouse and worldwide.' The families who are chosen for a Habitat home must show a need for adequate housing, must be able to pay a modest mortgage payment and be willing to put in 500 hours of `sweat equity,' working with Habitat to build their house. Habitat offers families a 0% interest mortgage and when monthly payments are made, that money rolls into materials for the next Habitat home. The use of volunteers helps to build a sense of community while working alongside the family members on all stages of construction and helps keep the costs down.
"This is a terrific way to get a lot done," Brent Bradberry, president of the board for the Palouse Habitat for Humanity, said. "We've had an excellent relationship with WSU for quite a while now. We've worked through the CCE (Center for Civic Engagement) and having the athletic department also coordinate volunteers is a terrific idea. We're all for it."
The Habitat group typically works two days a week, with large Saturday crews and smaller Thursday crews comprised mostly of retirees. Saturdays are the days most of the work gets done.