After wrapping up Fall 2017 semester exams in December, a group of Milligan College students wasted no time packing their bags and heading to Houston, Texas, to help with recovery after Hurricane Harvey devastated the city in August.
Six students, led by Campus Activities Director Jason Onks and Campus Minister Brad Wallace, went to the home of Anne Fritz, a retired Kindergarten teacher whose home was flooded by the hurricane.
Rebecca Pierce-Hale, a senior from a Glade Spring, Virginia, said that the house had six inches of water sitting in it for a long time, which destroyed all the electrical and walls in the house. The house was mucked out before the Milligan team arrived, preparing the way for them to put up drywall.
Milligan connected with Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston on this relief effort through 2012 alum Tommy Parker, who serves in leadership at Holy Family Church, one of Chapelwood’s campuses. The church donated $5,000 per house and has funding for 50 homes so far.
Pierce-Hale said that Fritz helped them work every single day.
“It was great getting to spend time with her,” said Pierce-Hale, a psychology major who hopes to become a counselor. “She was very hands on and helped us work—and learned herself. We laughed and told stories, and we even made videos of her dancing with one of the guys in our group. She taught me how to have fun even though she was going through such a hard time.”
Onks said that the mission trip was not only an opportunity to help someone in need, but it was a learning experience for the Milligan group.
“Most of our team had no construction experience, but they figured it out quickly,” said Onks. “We worked very well together and learned a lot about teamwork and the importance of community.”
As part of Milligan’s mission to honor God by educating men and women to be servant leaders, the college works throughout the year to identify areas of needs, locally and abroad, where its students can serve.