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Source: Ray Buyle, 785-532-5694,
News release prepared by: Megan Wilson, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Several members of Kansas State University's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors, a group within the College of Engineering, spent their recent spring break in New Orleans, putting their construction skills to work in hurricane recovery efforts.

The K-State students' participation was through Camp Hope, an abandoned junior high converted into a volunteer center. The camp is staffed by volunteers who accommodate as many as 1,000 college students each week from across the country who come to assist with relief efforts during their spring break. The focus of the trip was to help organizations such as Operation Nehemiah New Orleans and Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association rebuild homes that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Leonel Hernandez, senior in construction science and management, Hooker, Okla., and the chapter's public relations director, helped make the trip possible through his planning and organizing efforts. The chapter also had assistance through donations from industry representatives on the K-State Construction Science and Management Advisory Council. The students were accompanied by their adviser, Ray Buyle, instructor in construction science and management.

The K-State students helped with the building of new homes and the refurbishing of another home damaged by the hurricane. The students also were able to assist in the rebuilding of homes for two elderly couples. The chapter is already making plans to return to New Orleans during spring break 2010.

All students who participated in the projects are construction science and management majors. Along with Hernandez, they included:

Calder Sagan, sophomore, Bucyrus.

From Greater Kansas City: Alex Lopez, freshman, Lenexa; and James Jensen, senior, Aaron Priddy, sophomore and Keith Schaller, senior, all from Overland Park.

From Manhattan: Bryan Galloway, freshman; Andrew Gerth, senior; and Samantha Puent, junior.

Joseph Correia, senior, and Justin Leatherman, freshman, both of Mulvane; Cody Harms, junior, Scott City; and Matt Dodge, freshman, Topeka.

From out of state: Michael Donovan, sophomore, Chesterfield, Mo.