Lanett, Ala. (USA) — At Sunday’s Legacy Build Kickoff event, Fuller Center president David Snell spoke about the difficulty of taking over a job from someone like Millard Fuller.
“Millard left huge shoes to fill. More than one person can do,” he said. “But many feet can fill those shoes and many of those feet are right here today.”
He was speaking to the more than 1,000 people who showed up to celebrate Millard’s legacy–and hopefully carry it forward. Close to 300 volunteers started Monday and will continue all week, raising six houses in five days and renovating eight others. Most of them traveled from across the country to take part in the Millard Fuller Legacy Build.
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Latasha Billingslea didn’t have to travel. She came out early Monday to pick up a hammer and help construct her own home. She’ll be on site every day with various friends and family members. One of those will be her 15-year-old son who she hopes will get the experience as what work will one day be like.
Five of the homes are being built in the same block of property which means that Billingslea will have fellow new homeowners on surrounding her as neighbors.
“I’m very excited because the two on either side of me are like family,” she said. ” I have always been there with [Gresham Brooks].”
Brooks and Billingslea when to high school together in LaGrange and are both in home caregivers. Now their kids will grow up together.
“It’s just exciting to me,” Billingslea said. “It’s just like a–it’s a mircale.”
Bill Scott, Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project President, spent the past year coordinating the build.
“Day one went extraordinarily well,” he said Monday. “It was cool weather this morning and by the time the elves showed up to clean the worksite at five o’clock, we had met all our construction goals for the day.”
Volunteer Ashley Stuck, 24, came from Middleburg, Pa. with her family. The Stucks have traveled to the Chattahoochee Valley to build with the Fuller Center for three years in a row now.
“I love seeing the people here and seeing the homes [I’ve worked on] again,” Stuck said. And each time she brings people back with her. This time her family rounded up a group from Niemonds Independent Church.
Mary Ann Humbert came all the way from Mantua, New Jersey. She and her friend Susie Graber from Phoenix, Ariz. met 15 years ago on similar build events. Humbert is 80 years old and Graber said she’s “not far behind.”
“When you get older you realize pain is a part of life,” she said. She’ll keep coming back to meet old friends and experience the beauty and emotion of helping others build a home.
“You put your little bit of what you have and along with everyone else’s little bit, and it’s a dream come true for someone else,” Humbert said. She and Graber are making plan’s for next year’s event in Indianapolis already.
And Lanett is just the beginning. Worldwide, 100 homes are being built, renovated or dedicated during this week as part of the Legacy Build. Fuller Center Covenant partners in various locations throughout the United States and the world are gathering volunteers or finishing up projects to dedicate.
Millard’s wife and co-founder of the Fuller Center, Linda Fuller is thrilled with the outcome of the build. She thought about what it could have been like to spend her 50th anniversary alone.
“Instead I’m surrounded by 100s of people that knew Millard and wanted to celebrate his life—not only by coming, but also so many of them by helping build homes. I can’t think of anything more exciting,” Fuller said.