|by Howard W. Hewitt • October 30, 2005|
Wabash men rolled up their sleeves and went to work Saturday and Sunday helping their communities. The inaugural Wabash Day brought out alumni young and old, friends, and others to participate in a day designed to address the college’s core values.
Up to 20 organizations had indicated plans to participate with a variety of weekend activities. The men were painting, clearing brush, assisting with clothing drives, and even building a playground.
In Bloomington, a group on young alumni headed up the effort and painted a downtown youth center. About seven alumni worked on an exterior wall of the Rhino Youth Center.
And the Bloomington men discovered an added benefit to the first national weekend of service.
"We’re all getting together at a local bar (where a Wabash alum is manager) for the Colts versus Patriots Monday Night Football game in a few weeks," co-chairman Pat East '00 said. "I think there’s two or three of us that will continue to stay in touch beyond that game."
In Denver, Colorado, 11 volunteers worked at the Karlis Family Center, a domestic violence resource center.
In Lafayette, 13 Wabash men worked with an Americorps volunteer on a local Habitat for Humanity House. "We have great weather," Lou Fenoglio ’81 said. "We have a bunch of great guys and a great cause to come together for."
In Evansville, a dozen Wabash men, friends, and the father of a current student purchased and assembled a playset for the House of Bread and Peace women's shelter. "This is incredible," shelter director Sarah Wolf said. "We've needed something like this for a long time."
Columbus was a smaller group of alums but that didn’t stop the guys from putting a fresh coat of paint at the Volunteers for Medicine offices. "You feel proud of the community for being able to do something like this," Jon Holdread ’66 said about the clinic and of the national Wabash work day. "To have that kind of participation of people willing to do it is a huge reflection of the community atmosphere."
Alumni at Marion, Indiana, participated in building out some exam rooms at the St. Martin Center. The Bridges to Health Program is located there and it provides healthcare for indigent patients in the community. Alumni participating included: Craig Miller '97, David Callecod '89, Daniel Crandall '69, Emmanuel Ndow '93, Shay Atkinson '05, Mark Westfall '82. (See Marion photo album.)
Indianapolis had alumni and volunteers working Sunday at four different sites. Alumni in Brownsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago, Denver, Crawfordsville (see photos), Grand Rapids, the Kentuckiana area, Marion, Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, South Bend and Washington D. C. all had weekend Wabash Day plans.
The positive feedback is coming from a number of sources - not just the alumni associations and participants.
In Crawfordsville, members of the Sugar Creek alumni association and Wabash students helped on a number of projects. Volunteers spent time at the Montgomery County Animal Welfare League where they cleaned up things, walked dogs, played with cats and whatever else they could to help.
"Please extend a big thank you to all the guys at Wabash that came out to the shelter Saturday," wrote AWL Director Jesse McKinney. "I'm truly thankful for all that Wabash does to help support the AWL."
"Thanks for sending a Wabash Day group to First Christian Church to help us with painting our children’s Sunday School rooms," wrote Judy Michael of Crawfordsville's First Christian Church. "Stan Walker, Dr. John Roberts, Betsy Knott, and Stephen Mosier, along with some of our church members, made quick work of painting the room we plan to use as the Computer/Games room (as quick as you can paint concrete blocks that slurp up paint). They were not only fast, but also neat and thorough.
"What a team! What a wonderful gift this day is for our community and for other communities across the country!"
Top left: This group of Wabash alumni worked at a youth camp in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
On homepage: Wabash alumni who worked in Indianapolis at The Villages