The ViewPoint

Northeast Building Construction Students Pull Together For Pilger

Ryan+Hobza+%28right%29%2C+building+construction+instructor+at+Northeast+Community+College%2C+oversees+members+of+his+freshman+class+as+they+construct+a+shed+at+First+Christian+Church+in+Norfolk.+The+church+accepted+the+help+from+the+students+to+construct+two+of+the+sheds%2C+which+will+be+sent+to+Pilger+along+with+several+others.+First+Christian+is+providing+the+sheds+to+victims+of+a+June+16+tornado+who+plan+to+rebuild+their+homes+in+the+Stanton+County+village.+%28Courtesy+First+Christian+Church%29
Ryan Hobza (right), building construction instructor at Northeast Community College, oversees members of his freshman class as they construct a shed at First Christian Church in Norfolk. The church accepted the help from the students to construct two of the sheds, which will be sent to Pilger along with several others. First Christian is providing the sheds to victims of a June 16 tornado who plan to rebuild their homes in the Stanton County village. (Courtesy First Christian Church)

Ryan Hobza (right), building construction instructor at Northeast Community College, oversees members of his freshman class as they construct a shed at First Christian Church in Norfolk. The church accepted the help from the students to construct two of the sheds, which will be sent to Pilger along with several others. First Christian is providing the sheds to victims of a June 16 tornado who plan to rebuild their homes in the Stanton County village. (Courtesy First Christian Church)

Ryan Hobza (right), building construction instructor at Northeast Community College, oversees members of his freshman class as they construct a shed at First Christian Church in Norfolk. The church accepted the help from the students to construct two of the sheds, which will be sent to Pilger along with several others. First Christian is providing the sheds to victims of a June 16 tornado who plan to rebuild their homes in the Stanton County village. (Courtesy First Christian Church)

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NORFOLK – Even though the more immediate focus may be off the Pilger disaster, the effort to rebuild the Stanton County village will last for quite some time. Most of the community took a direct hit from a tornado June 16 that forever changed the lives of Northeast Community College’s service area residents.

Much of the rubble has been hauled away, but for many of those who have decided to stay, they have nowhere to keep their remaining possessions. That’s where a Norfolk church has joined forces with Northeast Community College.

Tim DeFor, lead minister at First Christian Church, said he was approached by a College employee who suggested Northeast’s building construction students assist with the church’s efforts to construct storage sheds for residents who were directly impacted by the disaster. “As we approach fall, we are seeing that there is a smaller window of opportunity and we want to get moving a little faster to get this initial shipment finished,” he said. The 24 freshman students of Northeast Instructors Ryan Hobza and Roger Walker are building two of the sheds while volunteers from the church have erected eight others.

First Christian has been working with the organization IDES (International Disaster Emergency Service) which partners with churches to respond to these types of situations. It conducted an inventory with other organizations to address the needs of Pilger and looked for ways to complement what is already being done.

Pictured is a completed shed that will be sent to Pilger. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

Pictured is a completed shed that will be sent to Pilger. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

IDES presented the church with an opportunity of providing storage sheds that will help people who are trying to transition back on to their property that has been destroyed. It gives them a place to store and secure, on site, their tools, equipment, and remaining household furnishings. Each 8’x12’ shed that is constructed is provided at no expense to the disaster resident. “These sheds are sign that these families will be returning,“ DeFor said.

DeFor said he said he is grateful for the assistance of Northeast Community College. “We have been looking for ways to partner more with the College. We simply wanted to provide opportunities to the students if the college saw the need.”

DeFor said the college employee emailed him and spoke of the quality of students who attend Northeast and recommend he seek their help. He then contacted Dr. Michael Chipps, college president, who put him in touch with John Blaylock, vice president of educational services. Blaylock then spoke with Lyle Kathol, dean of applied technology, Hobza and another building construction instructor, Mike Frank, to see how the College could support the effort.

It didn’t take long to make this current project come to fruition. “We spoke with the college on Monday, and by Wednesday, students were hammering away on the first of the two sheds,” DeFor said. “It was just a phenomenal response by Northeast.

“This is a great learning opportunity for our students.  They are gaining new skills while helping those affected by this summer’s storms,” Hobza said. “We appreciate First Christian Church for letting us partner with them on this worthwhile project.”

Pulling together for Pilger Ryan Hobza, building construction instructor at Northeast Community College, instructs members of his freshman class as they construct a shed at First Christian Church in Norfolk. The church accepted the help from the students to construct two of the sheds, which will be sent to Pilger along with several others. First Christian is providing the sheds to victims of a June 16 tornado who plan to rebuild their homes in the Stanton County village. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

Pulling together for Pilger
Ryan Hobza, building construction instructor at Northeast Community College, instructs members of his freshman class as they construct a shed at First Christian Church in Norfolk. The church accepted the help from the students to construct two of the sheds, which will be sent to Pilger along with several others. First Christian is providing the sheds to victims of a June 16 tornado who plan to rebuild their homes in the Stanton County village. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

“This is certainly what it means to be a community college,” said Dr. Chipps. “Not only are we educating our students with the technical skills necessary to fill today’s workforce needs, we are also educating our students to understand that they need to use their skills to serve the broader needs of the communities in which we all live.”

He said, “Speaking for the faculty, staff and students, we are all proud to be able to contribute financially, to contribute by providing housing to disaster victims and workers, and now to contribute to the rebuilding efforts with this storage shed project.  We wish to ensure residents that disaster relief efforts are still continuing and that we care by assisting with the rebuilding efforts in our large service area.”

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Northeast Building Construction Students Pull Together For Pilger