Fuller Center in Americus plans to give back to Western Kentucky University

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Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 7:02 PM EST
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AMERICUS, Ga. (WALB) - Tornadoes hit Bowling Green, Kentucky this past Friday leaving devasting damage and mass casualties across the area.

The natural disaster happened right before a group of college students planned to travel across state lines to help rebuild a house in Americus through the Fuller Center.

The tornados in Bowling Green didn’t stop the students of Western Kentucky University. They packed up a truck and came to Americus to give back in the best way they knew how.

“Just to see the smile like on the homeowners face and just to, just to know that we are helping somebody and just seeing her. You know she’s excited, she’s happy, she has a place and that’s what keeps me going,” said Kyle Torrence, a student at Western Kentucky University.

The Fuller Center in Americus was in great need before the students of Western Kentucky University came into town.

“It’s vital to what the Fuller Center for Housing does to have volunteers. If we did not have volunteers, we would not be able to do a thing,” said Bryan Reaka, advisor and associate professor at Western Kentucky University.

The students have been reflecting on the magnitude of the damage the tornados caused back home.

“We’re lucky compared to a lot of the other ones back home. People lost their homes, they lost you know family members. There was just, it’s really sad you know people lost their businesses,” said Torrence.

“But it’s kind of nice just to take a step back because it’s not great for my mental health to be around that. Like even looking at some of the pictures and stuff I still kind of like. I start looking and I like can’t stop. And I know that that’s going to affect me,” said Ivy Cadisak, senior at Western Kentucky University.

Western Kentucky University Gives back to the Fuller House & Habitat for Humanity
Western Kentucky University Gives back to the Fuller House & Habitat for Humanity(WALB)

And their travels weren’t the easiest, students and faculty drove nine hours to come to Americus, some of them leaving their homes still without power.

“Some of the students had a little bit more challenge to get to where we met but the grace of God got the campus itself safe, and my house where we met from the tornado’s path, other areas were not, were devastated,” said Reaka.

The groups still plan to help their local community.

“Once we get to the point where clean-up starts in a large fashion and then rebuilding. That’s where we come in, and we’re definitely builders. We’re builders of relationships and communities and hope and we are builders of homes as well,” said Reaka.

The Fuller House plans to give back to students in Kentucky after they took time out of their Christmas break to come and help rebuild houses in Americus.

David Snell- President of the fuller center for Housing
David Snell- President of the fuller center for Housing

“Their families and friends have gone through a terrible, terrible time. The Fuller Center, we’re not a disaster relief agency but we’re a disaster recovery operation. So once things get cleared out and people get settled in. Ah, we’re gonna go help families,” said David Snell, President of the Fuller Center for Housing.

The Fuller Center isn’t the only one paying it forward. One of the students from Western Kentucky University felt called to help his community on Bowling Green through their Habitat for Humanity Club.

“Because I’ve had a lot given to me as well so, I feel like if I can take this moment to help someone else. It would be awesome,” said Freshman at Western Kentucky University, Danielo Picktt.

Danielo has seen personally what this kind of help can do for a community in need.

Danielo Picktt – Freshman at Western Kentucky University
Danielo Picktt – Freshman at Western Kentucky University

“Originally, I was adopted from Haiti, I’ve been there ever since. And Habitat For Humanity went to Haiti in 2011 to help rebuild whenever we had the earthquake in 2010 so I thought being a part of that as well would be awesome,” said Picktt

If you would like to pay it forward locally The Fuller Center is looking for donations and volunteers, just click here.

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