Nov/Dec 2004

Articles in this edition
General's Journal: Leadership 101
Cadet named governor of
state student legislature
Early season wins give boost to Bulldogs
Palmetto Battery cadets build houses
Stories Beneath The Stones
Charles O. Fortsonís Diary:
A glimpse into the life of a 1939 alumnus during World War II
2001 graduate dies in Iraq
School of Humanities and Social Sciences forms advisory board
General and Boo make list of
portentous pups

Palmetto Battery cadets build houses

Cadet Stephen Schloss '06

Early in the morning, when the crisp air still hangs amid the thick fog on Johns Island, cadets clad in green and brown Army fatigues arrive in a developing neighborhood. The Palmetto Battery cadets work every Saturday for about eight hours building houses with Charleston’s Habitat for Humanity.

Stephen Schloss is a junior cadet from Yorktown, Va. An English major, he is currently working as an intern in The Citadel's Public Affairs Office.

Begun as a human affairs initiative within the newly expanded company, Palmetto Battery has championed this effort to produce leaders concerned with the well being of the community. Typically, about 10 cadets show up at the site’s storage trailer to join other volunteers in dividing the work load for that particular day. Today, Cadet Laura Gisinger from Elizabeth, N.J., leads the team, this time composed mostly of freshman. She works on carpentry in the kitchen of one particular home, installing the cabinets and cleaning the floors. This is the first time she has ever participated in any type of house construction.

“I feel challenged knowing I am working on someone else’s home, and I want my contribution to make the house the best it can be for this family,” says Gisinger.

The house will be ready to move in by January.

Another group of cadets has been assigned to prepare a lot for a foundation, which includes digging ditches along the perimeter. Four freshman have been assigned to this task.

“It is fitting a knob at The Citadel would have to do this,” comments a freshman.

One freshman in particular says the weekly community service project has helped him free his mind of the rigors of The Citadel’s fourth-class system. He enjoys concentrating his efforts, however temporarily, on the betterment of someone else’s life.

The first four hours of the day are typically the most labor intensive with activities ranging from digging trenches for footings to indoor carpentry and even installing vinyl siding and roof shingles. After an intense morning, the cadets and the volunteers go to a Mexican restaurant near the work site for lunch. People with busted thumbs, bruised and scraped knees, dirt smudged deep into clothes, and thick sweat gather around a long narrow table to eat and muse over the day’s activities. Upon returning to the neighborhood, labor continues at a slower, more relaxed pace for about two hours. One of the chief volunteers with Habitat for Humanity rides in his truck from house to house gathering the volunteers to start moving equipment back to the storage trailers. The families who will live in these houses can be found working just as hard as the volunteers.

“It motivates me to work with the father of the family who will live in this house,” says Cadet Adam Byerly from Spartanburg, S.C. “I didn’t realize how serious the work of Habitat for Humanity was until I started becoming friends with a family that will one day live in one of these houses, getting to know them personally and learning about their struggles in life.”

The weekly work these cadets do shows them how a supportive group can provide a lifeline to others in need. These families know struggles cadets may never encounter, but this service work helps them better understand what intense poverty is actually like.

With this experience, some of these cadets will never forget the struggling faces of each of the families and will want to continue working on behalf of people in similar situations.

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4-6 December
       Candlelight Christmas service

6 December
        CGPS exams begin

9 December
        SCCC exams begin;
        CGPS exams end

14 December
        Holiday furlough begins

9 January
        Holiday furlough ends

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