Tornado-rattled students from Western Kentucky University stay the course in serving others

Tornado-rattled students from Western Kentucky University stay the course in serving others

AMERICUS, Georgia — College students from the Habitat for Humanity campus chapter at Western Kentucky University had been planning for weeks to use their winter break service trip to come to the town that gave birth to the world’s affordable housing movement and serve with the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center for Housing.

No one could have blamed them, however, if they had canceled the trip at the last moment after devastating tornadoes roared through Western Kentucky the evening of Dec. 11-12, heavily damaging communities — including their university town of Bowling Green.

However, after meeting on the Saturday night just after the storms passed through, they decided that what Bowling Green needed at the moment was emergency disaster assistance and that they may better serve their own community by coming to Americus and honing construction skills that could be put to use in long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts.

In the meantime, they’ve helped two families in Americus have simple, decent places to live.

The story of their unselfish service caught the eye of three TV stations who made trips from Albany, Columbus and Macon, Georgia, to do reports. They were treated to a theatrical performance of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” at the historic Rylander Theatre, where they received an ovation from the audience.

They will be returning to Bowling Green on Saturday with more than just the satisfaction that comes from serving others; they’ll also be loaded down with gift cards donated by the Americus community for helping those impacted by the storms in Kentucky. Americus was hit by a major EF3 tornado in 2007 that resulted in two deaths and left a swath of destruction, though not on the same scale as the twisters that ravaged Kentucky.

“For them to come all the way to Americus after all their area has been through says a lot about their character and their determination,” Fuller Center President David Snell said. “These young folks are our future, and that’s a good sign.”

When Western Kentucky University and The Fuller Center for Housing reunite, it likely will be in Bowling Green or nearby as Fuller Center representatives are in discussions with various groups now to set up a long-term recovery operation in the area. If you would like to support those efforts, you can do so at the link below.

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