University of Delaware Football Team Members Lend a Helping Hand to Habitat for Humanity
July 21, 2011
WILMINGTON, Del. - - The scorching temperatures and dry air didn’t stop 13 members of the University of Delaware football team and staff as they spent their time with the Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County working to repair a house on Wednesday afternoon.
Jerry Oravitz, Director of Football Operations for the Blue Hens, led 12 players into the city to help turn a run down house into a home. The student-athletes worked in the backyard clearing brush, removing rocks, cutting down fences and knocking down cement walls. They also worked in the basement of the house, creating a level foundation for the house to be repaired at a later date.
Habitat for Humanity’s Brian Cunningham has coordinated numerous volunteer groups during his time as the New Castle County Director of Communication, and he enjoys having the young, energized teams come out to help.
“It’s great to have these players out here with the program like the University of Delaware and Coach (K.C.) Keeler," said Cunningham. "These guys are great and are really energetic; they are into it. It helps us get our word out about the mission of substandard housing and building these home in the community.”
Even with the local heat advisory, devastating temperatures nearing the 100 degree mark, and sweat drenched t-shirts, the team came together and used it as a team bonding experience in addition to giving back to the community.
“We are going to be doing enough sweating in training camp to bring us together, but things like this help,” senior offensive lineman Will Nagle explained. “We are doing hard work sweating together, some people bleeding together from a few mistakes. The work itself is not much fun, but coming together and doing it together as a team is fun. It will definitely bring us together, especially before camp starts.”
Even with the hours the team spent at the house, junior quarterback Tim Donnelly knows it is more about the big picture than just the help the players provided.
“When you get that opportunity, its feels good just knowing you gave back," said Donnelly. "But we also understand it’s just a small piece. We need to get more people out here. We are cleaning the backyard; someone else is building a house. That’s the astounding part, seeing just how much goes into it and how many people are working hard.”
According to the Habitat For Humanity of New Castle County’s website, the organization’s mission is “to build affordable housing at no-profit through a combination of volunteer labor, 'sweat-equity' and no-interest mortgages. We act in partnership with the community as a diverse group, including individuals, partner families, faith groups, civic organizations, local schools and businesses.”
In 2009, the NCC chapter built 21 homes and will continue to build 21 or more homes in a year to accomplish the affiliate’s full potential. This year the group has a goal of building 27 homes in the area to help serve families in the community.
“I can’t see a better way (of giving back) than rebuilding these houses,” Nagle continued. “As much work as we are doing today, it’s just a little part. Any little bit we can do to help is big in their eyes and helps them a whole lot.”
Cunningham has seen his fair share of groups come out to help, but realizes the special experience a team goes through in situations like working through the heat to accomplish a common goal.
“You are out here sweating among your brothers and sisters and it’s real, it’s tangible,” Cunningham said. “I think that is what a lot of these groups get out of here. They can walk away from here with their hours done, and see that they have done something that they can touch and feel.”
For more information on how to help the Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, please visit www.habitatncc.org.