Fuller Center Dedication

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A large crowd lined the street on April 19th as The Fuller Center prepared to dedicate a newly constructed home. New turf and hydrangeas occupied a lawn that was until recently a construction site. David Snell, president of the Fuller Center, addressed those gathered, presenting Peter Salemme with a golden hammer in thanks for his help supervising volunteers. “It was a real challenge for Peter, because we had a group of twenty in the morning, and another group of twenty in the afternoon, so he had to train the morning crew, then he had to retrain the afternoon crew, but by golly look what they accomplished. This is one of the prettiest houses in Americus!”

He also introduced Linda Lee Purvis, former director of the Jimmy Carter Leadership Program, who also spoke. “I looked at the students we were getting, I knew they were already strong in leadership, and there was so much more they could learn about leadership, but the most important thing they could learn about leadership was service.” Purvis talked about how the most impactful service she had experienced was building a house for somebody else. She stated that over 400 volunteers had come from Georgia Southwestern to construct the Robinson’s home. She also recognized local residents and those who had traveled to volunteer.

Alex Espita, president of the GSW Student Government Association, also addressed those gathered. “The building of this home exemplifies the power of collective action. The big blitz build is more than just a construction project. It’s a symbol of hope, solidarity, and the unwavering belief in the potential of every individual to create a positive change.” Espita congratulated the new home owner Emmanuel Robinson.

Sarah Brittany Greneker, executive assistant of Dr. Loren Boren, read a statement Boren had prepared. “I have this overwhelming feeling of pride for what we have accomplished. It’s hard to believe that three weeks ago the foundation was complete and the materials were meticulously color coded, labeled and organized for the work to begin, and look at what we’ve accomplished.”

She thanked Salemme for his guidance. “Thank you for being patient with those of us who have never held a power tool painted or even been on a construction site.” She also thanked Snell and the Fuller Center. “David Snell and the fuller Center team, thank you for this opportunity. I sincerely hope that we become long standing partners with an annual house build and with smaller projects in Americas and beyond.” She thanked numerous others, including a host of Greek life organizations and donors. She also addressed the family receiving the home. “Emmanual Robinson and kids, it has been an honor to work with you on this project. I can honestly say that just as Acts 20:35 says, you have all the greater blessing when you give than when you receive.”

Mayor Lee Kinnamon also spoke. “Sometimes it’s important for us to stop and remember that our community is made up of more than the citizens that we see in these houses, and see who attend meetings and attend churches here.” He spoke of Georgia Southwestern State University and South Georgia Technical College. “Those are communities that we want to make sure we remember because those students are our future. And they have certainly proven their worth to this community in this project. It would not have been done without them.” Kinnamon emphasized a message of hope. “You have agency to make things better in this community.”

He recognized Roger Willis, chief building official. “Mr. Roger Willis saw an opportunity. He saw a derelict property that had fallen into disrepair.” Kinnamon talked about how teamwork created the necessary connections. “It took a city official to make the connection to reach out to the Fuller Center, and for the Fuller Center to take the opportunity, and for all of us to work
together as a team to make this happen.”

Robinson was presented with two bicycles by the Fuller Center. Snell also presented him with an electric lawnmower for his new lawn. Pastor and volunteer Christian Abercrombie blessed the house.