December 20th, 2011

In July, more than 90 Alabama, Auburn and AUM students put aside their schools’ rivalries to build two Habitat for Humanity houses in Tuscaloosa’s Holt community. All but a handful of the approximately 100 homes in Holt were destroyed by the April 27 tornadoes.

“We built two houses for some very deserving families, put all rivalry aside with Alabama, and came together as friends,” said Auburn grad student Taylor Gunter, who led the Auburn team.

Volunteers worked on the homes of Reddy and Rosie Rowe, of Rosie’s Café and Catering and Cleaning Service, and Dana Dowling, mother of ten children. They laid the homes’ foundations, painted siding, constructed doors and walls, and put on roofing.

The completed homes also include a FEMA-certified safe room: a plywood structure plated with metal and bolted into the foundation. It is independent of the rest of the home.

Ralph Foster, APP volunteer board member and Auburn’s public service director, told the Tuscaloosa News, “Both universities do wonderful work to improve the quality of life in our state. This is a great example of that.”

House United was a joint effort by the Auburn University Outreach Office of Public Service, theAlabama Association of Habitat for Humanity Affiliates, and The University of Alabama Community Service Center to begin the community’s rebuilding process.

Holt was just the first step in the House United partnership.  Taylor and other students, alumni and friends on the House United team are traveling to Baldwin County in March to build a Habitat home there.

Interested in joining the House United effort? Register for the Baldwin County trip at http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/news/habitat.htm