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Published 12/13/2005

Owens Faculty Choose to Spend Winter Break Rebuilding Hurricane Katrina Damaged Houses

Hammering nails into floorboards and sleeping on church floors await seven Owens Community College faculty rather than the rest and relaxation that is found during the holidays following a semester of teaching. The lack of warm weather and comfortable hotel rooms are not deterring these individuals from heading south to the Biloxi, Miss., area and spending a portion of their winter break helping rebuild homes ravaged by the destructive forces of Hurricane Katrina.

The group of volunteers will spend one week working with Heritage United Methodist Church, which is located outside of Biloxi, dry-walling homes during the day and utilizing the church building as a place to sleep, eat and shower during the evening. The group is expected to depart from Findlay on December 15 and return to Northwest Ohio on December 21.

"Originally we planned to volunteer through Habitat for Humanity, however, when I tried to contact them I found their offices had been destroyed," said Jack Raymond of Findlay, Owens adjunct faculty member and the trip coordinator. "I then contacted the Biloxi local sheriff's office and he put us in touch with Heritage United Methodist Church, who was coordinating relief efforts in the area. They were delighted to accept our assistance."

Raymond added, "Like many others, each of us saw the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought down upon the Gulf Coast area on television. I even saw some photos my son brought back from his own volunteer efforts. We felt very fortunate to be spared such destruction and decided to find a way to help."

Owens faculty members expected to accompanying Raymond to the Gulf Coast region include Tim Rice of Port Clinton, assistant professor of Communications and Humanities; Bob Connour of Findlay, assistant professor of Math and Life Science; Lori Owens of North Baltimore, associate professor of Developmental Education; Susan Burris of Bowling Green, professor of Communications and Humanities; Mike Sprowls of Findlay, associate professor of Math and Life Science; and Mike Senour of Fostoria, assistant professor of Developmental Education.

According to Tim Rice, there wasn't must coercing needed from Raymond in finding individuals willing to volunteer their time for such a worthwhile endeavor. "Jack was asking around to see if anybody was interested in doing something to help in bettering the lives of those who were devastated as a result of Hurricane Katrina," Rice explained. "We all responded so enthusiastically to his idea that it didn't take long for the plan to become a reality, and it just took off from there."

In addition to volunteering their time and energy, the Owens faculty members plan to take books and monetary donations with them as part of the relief efforts. For more information, or to make a donation, call (567) 429-3520 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 3520.

Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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