Last week’s Higher Ground on the Bayou Build in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, brought together dozens of volunteers to help a couple of families who have been dealing with the aftermath of historic flooding for months. A trio of volunteers, though, had a special connection that no other group of volunteers could match.
Among the volunteers the build brought together were three generations of the Stoesz family — patriarch Edgar Stoesz, his son Randall and grandson David. They each have followed different roads in their careers, but they share a love for making the world a better place to live.
“It’s real special,” said Dr. Randall Stoesz, a pediatrician in Carmel, Indiana. “We’ve worked together before but never on a build like this together. We’re pretty compatible co-workers.”
Dr. Stoesz has worked on several builds for both The Fuller Center and Habitat for Humanity, as has his father, Edgar, who said he has done five with Habitat and five with The Fuller Center. Edgar said having three generations work together on this build was “a real bonus.”
“David is good with his hands, and I thought he’d be a good builder,” said the eldest Stoesz, who serves on The Fuller Center’s International Board of Directors and was once chairman of the board for Habitat. “Randy is probably the most skilled one of us. I’m just glad they were able to work it out with their schedules so we could all be here having a great time.”
Though the family’s roots are in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, David’s trip to the build was the shortest as he works with The Nature Conservancy and lives in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
“A lot of my co-workers are either from Louisiana or Mississippi,” David said. “I’ve grown really connected to the land here, and I’ve formed a really nice bond with our preserves in Mississippi and Louisiana. Most of my work, I do alone, so it’s nice to get out here and see some people and work with others.”