Story and Photo by Connor Burnard / Contributing Writer
On Saturday, members of the Kappa-Iota chapter of Kappa Sigma at MTSU worked on a house build with the Rutherford County chapter of Habitat for Humanity on two neighboring homes on South Hancock Drive in Murfreesboro.
Denis Nackley, the chapter president and a senior studying new media communication, said that Habitat for Humanity contacted the fraternity about the house build, as one of the homes is being built for an alumnus of MTSU and a former Kappa Sigma member.
“They reached out to me and they told me that this build was for one of our alumni. We’d never met this alumni,” Nackley said. “He’s handicapped and his story inspired us, and a lot of brothers were inspired to come out and help. We love to do this kind of stuff, especially for an alumni. It really means a lot to us. I think it comes down to why they joined a fraternity. We’re not just a social club that drinks on weekends. We have brothers that actually truly care to do stuff and want to better themselves… We actually get stuff done with the community.”
Roy Saylor, 54, the construction manager for Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity, supervised the build. Saylor was a nuclear submarine technician in the U.S. Navy and said that following his time in the Navy, he found a fulfilling career at Habitat for Humanity.
“When I finished my military service, I was looking for what was next, and I had always thought that the site supervisor position at a Habitat (for Humanity) affiliate was a really cool job, and it looked like it’d be really rewarding. And out of the blue, an ad in the newspaper showed up… and I threw my name in the hat,” Saylor said. “It’s just very inspirational to see at our dedication ceremonies the joy and the tears and all the emotion of a step in these folks’ lives that probably would not otherwise have been able to happen.”
Mark Barton, a freshman studying aerospace and member of Kappa Sigma at MTSU, participated in the build on Saturday. He said that he has experience with similar construction volunteering with his church and was happy to be a part of the build.
“For me, this is just fun. Getting to do it with my brothers, also, is even better. But also knowing that it’s for an old Kappa Sig alum — it’s just all the more better that I can help out an older brother by doing this for him,” Barton said.
Brian Vargas, a sophomore and undeclared major, also helped at the build. Although not a member of Kappa Sigma, he is a former member of Phi Kappa Tau, and said that he was invited to participate by his employer, Publix, through their community service endeavor, Publix Serves. He said that his past experience volunteering at the Discovery School at Bellwood in Murfreesboro encouraged him to participate in the build.
“I love helping people. I signed up once I got the opportunity. I’ve done this in the past…It was such a great experience, helping out,” Vargas said. “We want to give back to our community in some way, and that’s what I really enjoy.”
Annie Espy, 61, a lifelong resident of Murfreesboro, was at the build and took part in the Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program. Her home, a pre-existing house currently being renovated and prepared by Habitat for Humanity, is located just a few blocks from the Saturday build on South Hancock Drive. She said that watching the process of building the houses is meaningful to her as a future homeowner.
“Looking at the buildings come from the floor all the way up – I’ve seen two of them already – is amazing,” Espy said. “It’s just amazing seeing how the neighborhood and community is looking.”
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