LATROBE, PA – Members of Saint Vincent College Campus Ministry spent fall break in Union Beach, New Jersey, taking part in a service project in which they teamed up with disaster relief organization SBP to assist in rebuilding a home that was lost during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
From Oct. 12-15, the Saint Vincent contingent assisted SBP workers in rehabilitating the home of Marilyn Bagwell, which was inundated with 13 inches of water during the storm. In the aftermath, Marilyn and her husband, Randy, worked hard to rehabilitate the split-level home by cleaning and sheet rocking. The Bagwells then consulted a contractor to elevate the home, but the contractor abandoned the job and has since been accused of fraud by more than 30 families in the area. Following Randy’s death in March 2018, Marilyn has been forced to juggle two full-time jobs while caring for her disabled son and circumventing the complicated fraud review process for funding, while her home has sat unfinished.
The Saint Vincent group worked with SBP and volunteers from AmeriCorps throughout the weekend, assisting with sanding, painting and flooring the interior of the home while also performing extensive outdoor work and garage drywall installation.
In addition to the three, eight-hour workdays, the SVC group attended Mass at Holy Family Church, visited the beach, took in a haunted flashlight corn maze and spent an evening bowling. The group stayed in volunteer housing provided by the InfoAge Science & History Center at Camp Evans in Wall, New Jersey.
Led by Jody Marsh, Saint Vincent Campus Ministry coordinator of service, the SVC participants included:
- Morgan Casto, senior biology major from Johnstown.
- Antonia DeBastiani, sophomore mathematics engineering major from Lewes, Delaware.
- Soma Ivan, freshman continuing education major from Hungary.
- Melissa Koshute, senior accounting major from Beaver.
- Sarah Kudrick, freshman computer science major from Hunker.
- Austin Reder, senior engineering major from Wexford.
- Mauricio Sanchez, sophomore marketing major from Barquisimeto, Venezuela.
- Robert Seginack, sophomore management major from Savannah, Georgia.
- John Torres, Seminary student from Pedreira, Brazil.
- Ian Tracey, junior biology major from Pittsburgh (15238).
- Anthony Vanden Berk, sophomore computer science major from Latrobe.
SBD, formerly the Saint Bernard Project, was established in 2006 in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is one of just two non-profit builders left in New Jersey rebuilding homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, which was responsible for more than 200 deaths and inflicting $70 billion in damages to much of the eastern seaboard of the U.S.
PHOTO 1: The Saint Vincent Campus Ministry contingent and SBP volunteers at the rehabilitated home in Union Beach, New Jersey. Bottom (Left to right): Soma Ivan, John Torres, Mauricio Sanchez, Morgan Casto, Sarah Kudrick, Antonia DeBastiani, Melissa Koshute. Middle: Jody Marsh, Robert Seginack, Ian Tracey. Top: Anthony Vanden Berk, AmeriCorps/SBP volunteer Maximillian, AmeriCorps/SBP volunteer James, Austin Reder.
A full photo gallery from the trip is available via the Saint Vincent College Flickr account at this link.
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