From the Manchester College Archives

News Release


Manchester sends two teams South

for spring break to help

with Katrina cleanup and renewal

Two teams of Manchester College students are spending their spring break in the sunny South – but they’re not tanning on the beaches or partying hearty through the night.

The students are in Mississippi and New Orleans, helping with Hurricane Katrina cleanup – joining an estimated 10,000 college students mucking out houses and building anew.

The MC Habitat for Humanity chapter has spent its last 19 spring breaks in the South, building homes. This week, 17 MC students and two faculty members are in Meridian, Miss., where they will build two to four homes, said Brad Yoder, professor of sociology and social work, who is making his 17th Habitat trip.  

At the same time, 17 MC students, four staff members and a spouse are helping needy New Orleans residents – clearing the muck and mold, gutting houses for restoration, picking up neighborhoods. That team is with Operation Helping Hands, a volunteer program of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans to help residents reoccupy their homes.

Both teams left North Manchester on Saturday, March 18, and will head back this Saturday. The Habitat students are staying in Trinity Presbyterian Church in Meridian, on air mattresses and sleeping bags. The New Orleans team are staying in a FEMA camp run by the military, across the Mississippi River from the downtown.

Why such dedication? “Because the security of having your own personal space is so important to families, we should do everything we can to help,” said Yoder, of North Manchester.

In New Orleans, the team is removing appliances, furniture, damaged walls, ceilings, wiring ... and then sanitizing the houses to kill bacteria. They may encounter snakes; they will encounter biting bugs and filth.

Sunday, MC grad Mark Stahl took the team on a tour of New Orleans “to witness Katrina’s indiscriminate destruction of all kinds of neighborhoods.”  Stahl, an assistant dean and director for Metropolitan College of the University of New Orleans, has returned to Manchester twice since the hurricane to talk to students about the need for help.

“I'm sure the tour gave them some perspective on the enormous amount of work to be done here and I hope it served to make them all feel very good about the contribution they will make this week,” he said.

 On the New Orleans team: Zach Reichert of Granger, Ind.; Don Lawson of Anderson, Ind.; Adam Stokes of Greenwood, Ind; Nicole Hammond of Mishawaka, Ind.; Melissa Weirich of Middlebury, Ind.; Kevin Phelps of Brookston, Ind.; Chris Cosner of Riverbank, Calif.; Janaki Soman of Singapore; Bruce Orr of Bristol, Ind.; Stephanie Mishler of Goshen, Ind.; Cassie Franks of Warsaw, Ind.; Stacey Carmichael of South Bend, Ind; Anna Simons of Granger, Ind.; Jon Stauffer of Polo, Ill.; Colleen Hamilton; Farida Adam of North Manchester and Joshua Sollenberger of Annville, Pa.; Joining the trip are MC staff members Jake Reid of North Manchester; Doug Campbell of North Manchester; Sonia Smith of North Manchester; Dan Chudzynski of Rochester and his wife Kendra.

On the Habitat team: Kristen Betzner of Peru, Ind.; Jeanna Collins of Bourbon, Ind.; Kristen Davidson of Greenville, Ohio; Ashley Davis of Logansport, Ind.; Rebecca Flanders of Ada, Mich.; Aimee Gerdes of Mishawaka; Hani Ghazi of Jerusalem; Whitney Gray of Pendleton, Ind.; Nicole Hammond of Mishawaka, Ind.; Ming-Du Kang of Taipei; Jonathan Largent of Muncie, Ind.; Laura Lovelace of  Chino Hills, Calif.; Amanda Nordman of North Manchester; Meganmarie Pinkerton of Trotwood, Ohio; Akari Sakurai of Japan; Jeremy Stackhouse of Hamilton, Ind.; Caroline Strahammer of Monroe, Ind.; and Caryn Webster of New Paris, Ind. Joining the trip is Jongsoo James Lee of North Manchester, assistant professor of history and political science.  

Manchester, a Church of the Brethren college, has a heritage of service. Last school year, students recorded more than 10,780 volunteers hours.

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