By Chris Johnson
Director of communications
I knew that going to Minden, La., for the 2011 Millard Fuller Legacy Build would be an eye-opening experience.
I knew that I’d put faces with names of people I’ve emailed and with whom I’d called. I knew I’d meet more homeowner partners. I’d witness that infectious spirit that multiplies exponentially when hundreds of volunteers unite for a cause. And I’d get a glimpse of what it takes to make one of these builds happen … and to cover it from a communications standpoint.
Of course, there were bonuses from the trip that I didn’t even think about.
One was that I got to know Scott Umstattd, who handled the vast majority of the video work in Minden. We’d communicated a lot over the summer while he was with the Bicycle Adventure team, so I knew he had skills. But I didn’t really know him other than that he was the husband of my predecessor in communications, Faith Fuller.
For a week, we worked together, shared a cabin with a couple of other guys and split a lot of the driving of the team van, including the entire middle-of-the-night trek home. We found out we ran in a lot of the same circles during our college days, had similar work styles, liked similar comics and TV shows, and that made those midnight-5 a.m. hours enjoyable on the ride home.
Another bonus was getting to see newlyweds Linda Fuller and Paul Degelmann together. I’ve seen them before, of course, but I got to see them work together and meet volunteers and homeowners together. They complement each other wonderfully. If you can work on a construction site together, you’re gonna make it. The only joint project more likely to test a marriage is navigating a tandem kayak through the marshes of coastal Georgia and into the Atlantic Ocean. Trust me.
Well, the twain met about a week and a half ago when I got my grubby little hands on a video Scott produced from Linda and Paul’s recent wedding ceremony. It was a beautiful event with an intimate crowd. The music accompanying the video is “Seasons,” an original Georgia Fuller Luedi composition that she performed at the ceremony. Talented family!
It seemed a shame not to share this with everyone. So I am! Of course, not until I triple-checked with Linda to make sure that was OK. We decided that, indeed, it was a joyous occasion worth sharing with everyone. Our only big continuing disagreement is over her admonishing me for calling her "Ms. Linda" all the time as any decent Southern boy would. She insists her name is "Linda." Not sure where she got that idea.
So, please enjoy the video below. And just as when they legally tied the knot in June (on my birthday, no less), Linda would prefer that anyone wishing to give them a wedding gift instead donate to The Fuller Center for Housing in their honor. You can designate such a donation by clicking here.