Wabash Freshmen Pitch In For Community

The Crawfordsville community showed its appreciation for Wabash men’s muscles and strong backs Monday – putting nearly 250 freshmen to work.

In what has become an annual tradition, Wabash’s incoming freshman class went to work for community churches and organizations. The young men painted, fixed, lifted, cleaned up, pulled weeds, measured school kids and assisted senior citizens. (See Photo Album for more pictures!)

For the organizations it’s a chance to meet Wabash men in a different setting and a chance to complete much needed chores.

"We have a wood room upstairs that probably has been accumulating stuff since 1983," said Vanity Theatre’s Frank Cicela. "It's used props, parts and set pieces. We’re tying to clean that space out a little to give us some room to breathe.

"There would be just no way in the world we’d be able to do it without the Wabash students. We just really, really, really appreciate them."

For the students it was an afternoon away from testing, orientation and classrooms.

"It’s nice to get out and enjoy the community," Jay Horrey said. "I think pretty much everybody did some community service to get into a great school like this; you have to be a well-rounded person. I think everyone is enjoying it."

Horrey joined a group of men scraping old paint off a rental home owned by the Nazarene Church, just a half block from campus.

"We just use this at the church as a way not only to get a little work done, but we like to meet the guys," Pastor Mike Uhl ’76 said. "We have a long history of guys coming from campus through our church and being associated with our church.

"It’s a good way for us to meet the guys who are coming in every year and we appreciate their work. We’re always happy to meet them."

Across the street at the First Christian Church Barton Paddock, the church’s property chairman, was overseeing some young guys putting varnish on new windows.

"The college came and asked if we could use students again and I said we sure could," Paddock said. The church leaders said it was good free labor and a good time interacting with the young men.

And like most 18 year olds, Andy Root said it’s good fun. "You get to hang out with your friends," he said. "You really get to know people doing this. Everyone is real friendly, especially the people that let us come do this at the First Christian Church."

Advisees of English professor Marc Hudson — whose wife, Helen, and her Crawfordsville High School students have worked on the Amtrak stop project for two years — took their turn Monday, mowing grass and pulling weeds, cleaning up scrap metal, helping measure windows for replacement, and spreading mulch on the property.

"Last night, five of Helen’s students gave a presentation on the history of the project," Professor Hudson said, "so these students are aware of the efforts other have put into this project. They gotten a lot done in the time we’ve been here; it’s remarkable what you can get done with 13 guys!"

"It’s great that they’ve brought us down here to help; giving back is what college is all about," said Wabash freshman Matt Doduro, who was tossing scrap metal from the tracks and trackside, assisted by freshman James Ket.

"They’ve been talking to us about the Gentleman’s Rule the last couple of days," Ket said, "and this is just the Gentleman’s Rule in action right here."

Wabash men did chores at New Hope Church, Old Jail Museum, Abilities Service, Hose Elementary, Nicholson School, Hoover School, Williamsburg Home, Rails/Trails, Mt. Zion Church, Community Center, Municipal Golf Course, Crawfordsville Country Club Course, Amtrak Station, Athena Apartments, Ben Hur Nursing Home, Food Pantry, First Nazarene Church, Lew Wallace Study, Lane Place, and First Christian Church.

Hewitt is Wabash College's Director of New Media/Web Editor. Steve Charles and Brent Harris contributed to this story and photos.

In photos:

Above: Jay Horrey, New Albany, and Sean Clerget, Lafayette, work scraping old paint off ceiling of porch.

Above left: Matt Doduro and james Ket toss scrap metal from the tracks.

On homepage: Jeremy Morris, from California, and Caleb Hedden, Winchester, break up some props before tossing them onto the dump truck at Vanity Theare.

On student homepage: Hieu Minh Dam, from Vietnam, and Miguel Munoz, Texas, put a shine on the Sunshine Van.