Campbellsville University Students Spend Spring Break Working to Help Others

By Linda Waggener, assistant director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE — Each year Baptist Campus Ministries at Campbellsville University provides opportunities for students to go out into the world to share the gospel. This spring 58 students went to seven different locations including trips to Michigan, Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Alaska, Jamaica and Europe.

One Campbellsville University team was “gutting” homes in the 96th district in New Orleans on spring break. Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries, and Dave Walters, vice president for admissions and student services, accompanied 14 students on this trip. Student team members were: Cameron Raulston, LaGrange, Ky.; Garret Lowery, Mt. Washington, Ky.; Nic Hervey, Alexandria, Ky.; Carla Edmondson, Independence, Ky.; Laura Johnson, Aransas Pass, Tx; John McDermond, Florence, Ky.; Dustin Duvall, Owenton, Ky.; Nicole Wilcox, Vine Grove, Ky.; Rebecca Newton, Charlestown, Ind.; Michael McDaniel, Wickliffe, Ky.; Grant Litton, Somerset, Ky.; Jeremy Elmore, Campbellsville; Mike Dunham, Science Hill, Ky.; and Andre Tomaz from Romania.

Walters reported that everything in the home was just as it had been as Katrina flood waters left it, even to the horrible smells of food still in the refrigerator, personal belongings, furniture, clothes, photos, pots and pans.

“Our job was to completely empty the house and garage, removing it all — drywall, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, ceiling, insulation – everything,” Walters said. “The house was empty when we finished, taking it down to just studs on the inside.

“During one water break, several of us sat near the front of the home beside a FEMA trailer. A gentleman approached our group and shared that the home next to the one we were working on belonged to his mother and father. He said he was Juan LaFonta, a state representative for the 96th District in the Louisiana House of Representatives.”

Walters said LaFonta thanked each member of the CU group at the water break visit while others were inside working. “Mr. LaFonta was extremely appreciative of the hard work we were doing and said several times, ‘If it weren’t for the volunteer groups coming to the city to help with the recovery, the city would never be able to pull out of the mess created by Katrina and the levee breaking.’”

Walters said, “He told us about the days following the hurricane and the flood and described in detail how many were rescued and how many were lost. He described the difficulties of reaching certain sections of the city and how different socio-economic groups were treated during the aftermath of the devastation. He said they expect less than 50 per cent of the people displaced by Katrina to ever return. It was a very moving and interesting conversation.”

LaFonta extended an invitation to treat the Campbellsville University group to a meal at a “soul food” restaurant in the French Quarter called the Praline Connection. Walters said, “the next evening we enjoyed some of Louisiana’s finest soul food. The restaurant specialized in ribs, fried chicken, seafood and collard greens. This was a great experience for our team and Mr. LaFonta had arranged to pick up the entire tab for the meal even though he wasn’t able to join us.”

The CU group which went to New Orleans over spring break worked mostly in the upper and lower 9th wards, areas very close to the levies which suffered severe damage.

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference and would like to explore the possibility of becoming a student at Campbellsville University, or for more information about this mission trip, contact Admissions and Student Services at (270) 789-5552.

Campbellsville University, now celebrating her Centennial year, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 14 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.

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