Iowa students use spring break to rebuild storm damaged homes

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

ESCATAWPA, MS (WLOX) - It's not your usual spring break scene.

"We think of partying, we think of Daytona and Miami Beach."

These college students and teachers are using their time off to make a difference in the life of a Hurricane Katrina victim by rebuilding his home.

"It is pretty bad," volunteer Olga Rinco said about the damaged home.

The roof is leaking, the floors are rotten, and the walls are falling. But the students say the damage is nothing they can't fix.

"I love to be productive," volunteer student Megan Selvig said.

This is senior Megan Selvig's first trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and she jumped at the chance to show off her roofing skills.

"I got covered in tar. Today, we are putting shingles up."

This is Stephen Nilsen's third time working on Katrina damaged homes. He said every year there's always more work to be done.

"Being from Cedar Rapids, I have seen the devastation from flood and I know people need to help each other. I would rather spend spring break here."

Although school is out, members of this team say they've learned the biggest lesson this week, the value of giving.

"You have these seven to ten days of break and it not only helps the community, but it helps you. You get something out of it yourself. I feel great doing it. That's something every student needs to experience," Selvig said.

The Iowa students teamed up with the volunteers from Camp Victor in Ocean Springs to complete the home. They will work in Escatawpa the rest of the week.

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