EllisNM's blog

Meet Kris Carlson

Kris is from Lakewood, a small town near Jamestown.  When Kris was small, he worked with his grandfather who was a house builder.  Now, framing houses is Kris's favorite thing to do.

Kris has enjoyed hanging out in New Orleans and walking Bourbon street as well as the swamp tour.  He has grown to love Bay St. Louis and is considering joining Americorp so he can come back and work with Habitat after graduation.  Kris has often worked with Habitat when he had free time and during weekend builds and was touched to attend a home dedication ceremony for one of the houses we built.

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Meet Laura Van Horn

Laura is from Cato NY and hasn't decided if she will take masonry next year or try to get into the carpenter's union.  Laura misses her family - she's a very family based person, but she says she would definitely come South all over again.  Laura thinks that Bay St. Louis is a small and "homey" town and that the people in the South are really nice and more welcoming then in New York State.  She has had alot of fun going to concerts in New Orleans and watching Cruise the Coast which is a huge moving car show.

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Meet Brandon Wheeler

Brandon is from the Buffalo area and would like to continue his studies at the University of Buffalo next year - eventually earning a degree in Architecture.

Brandon has enjoyed working in New Orleans and likes the freedom of work without someone shadowing him.  "I get to go in a house, identify the problems and then fix them.  I get to meet the homeowners and feel their gratitude and know I am making a difference in their lives.  I like to think that I am restoring the memories of friends and family that have taken place in their homes."

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Meet Jim Battaglini

Jim is from Vestal, NY and plans to return there after graduation to find work.  Jim would like to work in several types of construction and then concentrate in the one he finds he likes best.  Eventually, he would like to find his way back down to MIssissippi where he likes the area and the weather.

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Meet Jake Schreppel

Jakes spiritual life is very important to him and so I asked him if the spiritual experience was different in the South.  "I have been attending a Baptist church here in Bay St. Louis and it has really broadened my experience.  They have a big choir which we don't have back home, and the pastor actually yells at us during the sermon!"

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Meet Nick Tier

Nick Tier is a biker and I thought he would like biking in Mississippi because its so flat.  Nick says he really misses the challenging hills and the quiet country roads around Alfred.  The small town of Bay St Louis, Mississippi seems alot like home though and Nick finds that everyone is friendly here.  Nick is surprised that he likes the weather and thought that it would be hotter and more humid than it is.

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Meet Adam Pezzulo

     The personal stories that Adam has heard has affected him more than any other experience in the South.  Susan Dagrel, a resident of Bay St. Louis, spoke with everyone about her and her husband's escape from the Katrina storm surge.  Even though their home had been built on 8 foot piers, it was still ruined when the water rose to the ceiling and the hurricane winds tore the roof off.  Adam is also intrigued by the factors contributing to the seriousness of the disaster:  the winds that were perfectly aligned to push the storm surge over the town of Bay St.

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Meet Eddie Sparks

Eddie is from a small town of Millport, near Horseheads, NY and would like to start his own carpentry business after graduation. Eddie was drawn to the Study in the South program because it offered more intensive hands on experience, and he said with a smile, "less classroom time."

Working alongside of the home owner at the Habitat project in Mississippi has been a highlight for Eddie. He enjoyed installing the bamboo hardwood flooring and working with the Americorp crew. Other highlights have been the friendliness of the people in Bay St Louis, great food and fantastic weather.

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Meet Marty Huber

     Marty says his parents loved the idea of his studying in the south, and he wanted to get a lot more building  experience to raise his confidence and skill level.  He also wanted to try a different building style and to work for people who really could use the help. 

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Meet Nate Smalt

     Nate is one of 14 wonderful people on our team.  He is from Savona where his dad has a carpentry business.  His mom works at the VA. Nate played high school basketball and his team won states his sophomore year.   One of Nate's goals is to own his own carpentry business someday.

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