When you ride by the corner of Huguley Road and Harmon Street this week in Valley, Alabama, you should have no problem spotting 16-year-old Jasmine Luedi on the site of House No. 1 of the Millard Fuller Legacy Build.
“She’s not old enough to get up on ladders, but at 6-foot-2 she doesn’t need a ladder,” her grandmother, Fuller Center co-founder Linda Fuller, said with a laugh Monday morning from the site of the 2016 blitz honoring Jasmine’s grandfather — Millard Fuller, the late Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient who founded The Fuller Center for Housing, as well as Habitat for Humanity.
Two years ago, Jasmine joined her sister Sophie on the site of the Toolie Build in Americus, Georgia, where Sophie celebrated her 16th birthday by helping a family have a decent home. Last year, both Jasmine and Sophie spent a week building a home in Lanett, Alabama — hometown of their grandfather, but at a build called the Lind-A Hand Build in honor of their grandmother. Though she turned 16 on May 30, this opportunity to serve others is Jasmine’s gift to herself.
“I’m here because I wanted to celebrate my 16th birthday with a build to honor my grandfather,” she said Monday morning. “I find great joy in building houses and helping others.”
“She’s got the heart of a servant, the heart of a missionary,” her grandmother added.
Last year’s experience in Lanett, which is adjacent to Valley, is one Jasmine said she will never forget as she got to spend a lot of time working alongside her grandmother.
“Meeting the homeowners and getting to build a house that will help them — and help build them up mentally and spiritually — and meeting all the volunteers and such was a really good experience,” she said. “It was special being a part of the first Lind-A Hand build — being able to do it with a whole bunch of ladies … and even a few men here and there.”
“She’s got the heart of a servant, the heart of a missionary.” — Linda Fuller, talking about her 16-year-old granddaughter, Jasmine Luedi
Jasmine was 8 years old when Millard Fuller passed away unexpectedly in 2009 at the age of 74. This week, she is carrying not only his memory with her but something more visible — a hammer Fuller used many times on job sites around the world. More than 7 years after Millard Fuller’s death, she still remembers another side of the man who helped millions of people who have simple, decent places to live, and whose legacy is being carried on by The Fuller Center.
“I just knew him as a grandfather,” she said. “He never brought the business side of things into the family. So, whenever we went to his house, he was never working. He always took us out fishing or something. I just think of him as Granddad, not as the founder of these two huge organizations.”