Cougar Student-Athletes and Staff Volunteer with Palouse Habitat for Humanity
Aug. 6, 2012
Over the course of two blistering hot July days, 44 Cougar student-athletes and staff took to Uniontown, Washington to help with a Palouse Habitat for Humanity's Building Project.
Helping others and putting smiles on faces felt good and was worth laboring in the heat, Chas Sampson, a redshirt senior offensive lineman, said.
The Purnell family, Ken and Cori, and their children, Addyson (8), Skyler (4) and Hayden (3), were all smiles when the group from WSU Athletics showed up at the building site.
According to the Palouse Habitat for Humanity website, the Purnells have moved several times and is currently renting out a home in Colton. The new home will provide the family stability that has eluded them in the past.
"We have had to move so often and have been trying for some time to find a way to own our own home. It just seemed like a failed dream at this point of our lives," Cori told Palouse Habitat, "I am so thankful we gave it another try."
The family is glad for the opportunity to stay in the area. Ken was born and raised in Moscow. He works in Shipping/Receiving for the Materials Management Department at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow. Cori works as an Administrative Assistant in Engineering Services at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman
With the motivation of helping the Purnells, student-athletes and staff from the football, volleyball, men's basketball, rowing, swimming and track and field teams enthusiastically went to work.
"We're just out here trying to make our community better," DaVonte Lacy, a sophomore guard on the men's basketball team said, "It helps us connect with some people and get our faces out there doing the right thing."
The Cougar volunteers were tasked with a variety of construction work. They completed window installation of the home. Three rooms were framed in the two days of work. Volunteers painted half the siding of the house and finished painting the exterior trim.
The student-athletes also moved dirt and compacted gravel into the driveway, a 40-foot long sidewalk and two backyard patios. The driveway was tied with rebar and prepped for concrete.
The Director of the Palouse Habitat for Humanity, Jennifer Wallace, thanked Cougar volunteers for their hard work. She informed them that over the two days, they completed as much work as an average Habitat for Humanity volunteer group does in five weeks.
In all, Cougar volunteers tallied approximately 250 hours of community service.
"The hands-on experience of community service provided them with a unique and tangible outcome of helping others within their Pullman and surrounding Palouse communities," Kari Sampson, the Coordinator for Career Development and Community Service in the athletic department, said.
Sampson wanted the student-athletes to step outside their bubble and learn the direct meaning of serving others.
The Habitat for Humanity Home Build is one of many community service based initiatives the Student-Athlete Development unit and WSU Athletics are committed to. To be eligible for the home build, the family must show a need for housing and the willingness to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" working with Habitat to build their home. The Purnells will also pay a modest mortgage with the payments funding another Home Build project. For more information visit http://palousehabitat.org/.
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