CRESTVIEW — While many college students head to the beach for spring break, students from Thomas More College in Kentucky are volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
The Okaloosa County office invited students from the school's Business Society to help construct two Crestview homes.
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This week, students, under chaperons and Habitat volunteers' supervision, worked on building the wooden frame for two homes on Lee and Cobb Avenues.
Nitzi Bennett, the Okaloosa organization's president and chief executive officer, said the college and Habitat have a great working relationship. The college donated $2,500 upon arrival, she said.
Volunteers, including 21 students and four chaperons, hammered nails, sawed boards and moved mounds of clay dirt.
Each 1,600-square-foot home will have four bedrooms, Bennett said. Both locations also have occupants waiting to move in upon completion.
Joe Hageman, a junior, had no problem taking up manual labor for spring break.
"For me, the most gratifying thing is that we are providing one of the most basic needs for people," Hageman said."After food and water, housing and shelter is the most basic need for people. It feels good to help an organization, like Habitat, in helping people get back on their feet."
Many Thomas More students continue to spend spring break volunteering for Habitat for Humanity offices across the Gulf Coast, said Joe's father, John Hageman, a biology professor at the college.
This is the second straight year the college students have traveled to Okaloosa County. Last year, students helped build a home in Fort Walton Beach.
During their weeklong visit, students are staying at St. Simon's Episcopal Church in Fort Walton Beach. The volunteers can visit area beaches and other attractions during their visit, John Hageman said.
"It's a combination of work and tourism, but it's spring break with a purpose," he said.