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LeTourneau students contribute time, energy, service to NE Texas Habitat projects – Marshall News Messenger

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Sunny. High 77F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph..
A few passing clouds. Low 51F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: March 20, 2022 @ 8:31 am
Several LeTourneau University students are serving with the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity during Service Week.
Several LeTourneau University students are serving with the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity during Service Week.
Several LeTourneau University students are serving with the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity during Service Week.
LeTourneau University students help build a Habitat for Humanity house in South Longview this week.

Several LeTourneau University students are serving with the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity during Service Week.
Several LeTourneau University students are serving with the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity during Service Week.
Several LeTourneau University students are serving with the Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity during Service Week.
LeTourneau University students help build a Habitat for Humanity house in South Longview this week.
LONGVIEW – By his own admission, Wyatt Simpson is a missionary. However, the junior civil engineering student at LeTourneau University didn’t have to travel far to find his mission field.
Simpson and several of his fellow LeTourneau students are making a difference literally within a few minutes drive of the south Longview campus. The LeTourneau Habitat Club has been providing student volunteers to Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity for several years, and Simpson, a graduate of Spring Hill High School in Longview, is taking his turn in the rotation.
“We have mission trips that go all over the place, and we support all these people, but what about the people right here in our backyard?” said Simpson, who along with a crew of fellow students was working on a Habitat build site on Walnut Street in Longview this week while on Spring Break. “That is what we are called to do as Christians, to show people the love of Christ and to everyone, to the ends of the earth. But unfortunately sometimes we focus more on the ends of the earth part and not as much on our own backyard.”
Northeast Texas Habitat Construction Manager Nico Fourie is a big fan of the LeTourneau Habitat Club. He says LeTourneau has been providing student volunteers for several years, and every time he calls for help they have come through.
“I cannot overestimate the impact the LeTourneau students have had (on Habitat build projects),” said Fourie, who has worked with Habitat for Humanity since 2009. “A few years ago we were really having problems getting volunteers and LeTourneau came out and they actually started the LeTourneau Habitat Club. Every single year, if I ask, they have people on the sites in Longview. Even now in Marshall, when we had a problem with trying to get volunteers out, the students came out for six weeks, every Saturday, and helped me get that house completed.”
The current build at 310 Walnut in Longview is a little behind schedule due to a variety of reasons, which makes the contributions of the LeTourneau students even more important. Simpson and his team worked the first three days of their spring break, which also coincided with Service Week at LeTourneau, and were able to help Fourie and his team catch up a bit on the schedule.
“When I build a house in Longview, I know that I have a backbone (of volunteers),” Fourie said. “I’ve got my Wednesday crew that comes out and does all the prep work, and then these kids from LeTourneau come out on a Saturday and they get a lot done. They called me about two months ago and told me they could give me three days of work during Service Week, and so we are here for three days trying to get caught up on the house as much as we possibly can.”
Simpson said he usually can provide between five and 10 students at any time on a build day, and has an email list of roughly 50 that have indicated a willingness to work. Not only is it a great opportunity to serve others, but he said working on a Habitat build gives him tremendous experience in his field of study as a civil engineer.
“I’m interested in the mission field, and civil engineering is uniquely equipped in a lot of ways for the mission field,” he said. “Habitat reaches out to people all over the world that have really unfortunate living conditions. The ability to apply civil engineering to any particular situation is a really unique opportunity, I think.”
Joining the spring break crew was Ethan Hopp, a fellow civil engineering major from Florida who spent 12 years with his parents who were missionaries in Haiti. Hopp’s experiences as a child growing up in an impoverished nation led him to also seek a degree in civil engineering, where he met Simpson.
“I love helping people,” said Hopp. “In many ways that’s why I’ve been so interested in civil engineering because it can help so many people. Habitat is a great way that I can get away from the more technical, theoretical stuff and actually get out and do more hands-on, applied works and give back to the community.”
Mia Ferraro and Josalyn Taylor were tasked with painting at the Walnut site, and both agree that the mission of showing love and care to residents of South Longview was a driving force for their work with the Habitat crew.
“I’ve always been into volunteering and helping others,” said Ferraro, a freshman from Georgetown majoring in computer engineering. “I saw this opportunity and I also like to work with my hands, so I just thought this was a great way to reach out to the community.”
“I want to be able to do more stuff like this,” said Taylor, a senior psychology major from Buffalo. “I currently work at Thrive Longview, and I serve the middle school age population. With Habitat for Humanity this is helping them along with their parents. Being able to paint, although it can be hurting our bodies while we’re painting the ceiling, it can be really fun to just give back to the community.”
Simpson hopes to continue providing Habitat with help as much as possible, for as long as he can while studying at LeTourneau.
“It’s just showing people they are loved,” he said. “Just the fact that we can love people and show them they are loved, and provide for them in such a way. Habitat does a great job organizing this stuff, and all you have to do is get involved, come and help. It makes it easy to show people the love of Christ.”
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