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Maryland group lends a helping hand in Starkville

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — Volunteers helped install siding on Starkville Habitat for Humanity houses number 53 and 54 Wednesday, but the ladies aren't part of a local volunteer group - they traveled here from Baltimore, Maryland.

"The first day it was 9 degrees and then it rained all day long, but it's been awesome," said High School Senior Mary Schaefer.

It is all a part of a school service project, and this trip marked the 22nd consecutive trip to Starkville for the group from Maryland's Notre Dame Prep.

"It's really eye opening. You meet people you never would have met before. We are all seeing how grateful we are for our houses and realizing how much work has gone into it," said High School Senior Paige Reich.

Steven Pomplon, the school's director of social services, says the group first started coming to the area because they combined the habitat trip with a civil rights trip.

"Then, I guess we just fell in love with Starkville and I think we have just been coming back ever since and I think its the culture. This is about the best habitat group I've ever worked with, the community just really embraces the volunteers," said Pomplon.

John Breazeale, the construction manager says, the process can sometimes be emotional. He spoke about a home owner's experience last year.

"She would come out and eat lunch with the kids and you could see her tear up almost every day. So you can see the emotion and it really... for that, the folks that week, it really meant a lot to them to be able to engage the homeowner and understand that what they were doing was well worth it," said Breazeale.

He said none of this would be possible without the help of volunteers.





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