Students and faculty work with Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

From Hays to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Fort Hays State University Tigers in Service took a group of 18 students and sponsor Shana Meyer, to volunteer for a week with Tuscaloosa Habitat for Humanity to work on a house damaged by a tornado.

Meyer is assistant vice president for student affairs.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, students painted the interior walls and doors, laid wooden floors and tile, grouted the tile, painted outside of the house, helped build a wheelchair ramp, and install doors and windows. Some students also got the opportunity to build a breezeway at the Habitat for Humanity office.

"My favorite part of the trip was meeting the people who experienced the actual tornado destruction," said Alayna Bergkamp, Halstead junior. "Everyone was so hospitable to us and welcomed us with open arms. Even with what happened in the past, they look at it as a blessing because it brought their community together."

"My favorite part of the trip was meeting the woman who will receive the house we worked on once it is finished," said Tre' Giles, Colorado Springs, Colo., sophomore. "My dream is to join the Peace Corps after I graduate, so I wanted to get more experience serving people."

Students also toured the path of the F5 tornado that went through in 2011, enjoyed an authentic local barbeque and toured the University of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Football facilities, which includes the stadium and locker rooms.

The trip was from Jan. 12 through 19.

"My favorite part was getting to know all the FHSU students and having the privilege of working with them to help build a house," said Brenna Johnson, Beloit junior. "The reason I chose to go is that I feel that I have been very blessed and want to help others who are less fortunate."

Students are listed by hometown, with classification and major.

Beloit: Brenna Johnson, junior majoring in elementary education.
Colorado Springs, Colo.: Tre' Giles, freshman majoring in organizational leadership.
Concordia: Rachel Hasch, freshman.
Firestone, Colo.: Sarah Myers, junior majoring in health and human performance.
Fort Morgan, Colo.: Daniela Sanchez, senior majoring in general science.
Garden City: Gustavo Reyes, junior majoring in psychology.
Grainfield: Tyler Weber, senior majoring in radiology.
Halstead: Alayna Bergkamp, junior majoring in elementary education.
Hays: Shelby Smith, senior majoring in mathematics; Becca Kohl, sophomore majoring in information networking.
Iola: Brittney Jacobs, senior majoring in health and human performance.
Lenexa: Allison Maier, sophomore majoring in tourism and hospitality.
Perryton, Texas: Alma Hidalgo, senior majoring in graphic design.
Plains: Juliana Herrera, senior majoring in justice studies.
St. John: Shaun Suppes, senior majoring in chemistry.
Topeka: Gabriel Garay, freshman majoring in biology.
Wichita: Alesha Stroh, freshman majoring in organizational leadership.
Woodward, Okla.: Arin Powers, sophomore majoring management.

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |