Walking onto the make-shift construction site in Elon Elementary School's parking lot early Saturday morning, John Barnhill seemed like every other alumni. Little did the volunteers know that Barnhill was actually the reason the organization even existed. With Homecoming last weekend, Habitat for Humanity held this special build for graduates to come build and meet current students.
Barnhill was Habitat for Humanity's first student president and helped to found the organization 25 years ago. In its 25th anniversary year, the current adviser to Habitat, Evan Small, looks back and reflects on how the organization has evolved.
"To see that energy grow for over 25 years has been really really cool and and I've been learning a lot more about the history preparing for our celebration this year," Small said.
On the Saturday morning build, Barnhill was a surprise visitor.
"The students that are involved in habitat are heavily engaged in working with families in a partnership to build adequate housing in the local community ... that same passion was here back in '98 as it is here now 25 years later," Barnhill said.
One student Monica Evans, the current treasurer for Habitat for Humanity, is pleased to see so many people make the most out of the organization.
"Everyone puts in a lot of hard work. People get up at six in the morning every Saturday to come out and help build the house as you can see and its just a really good opportunity," Evans said.
This build was a little different than most. Alumni and current students joined in the build. One Alumni, Meredith Webster, saw how much enthusiasm students still had for Habitat.
"I'm just pleased that its still going strong and that there are people involved who love it as much as we did when we were here," Webster said.
Habitat For Humanity's goal for the year will be to finish their twenty-third house in the spring.