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February 10, 2007

Purdue students, Rotary joined by Dean of Students Office

Gus Macker's Habitat house becomes a home in Lafayette

Sponsor John Basham receives Gus Macker ball
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The kindness of strangers and the caring of a community are nailing down a brighter future for Lisa Bickett and her 2-year-old  daughter, Keylee.

Lisa, Purdue students and staff, and Lafayette Rotary have worked together to frame her new home just west of and below Miller School as part of the Habitat for Humanity program in Lafayette. On Saturday (Feb. 10) she had a chance to thank everyone who made it possible as they rallied to install drywall in the house that will become her home this April.

Among the workers were members of Purdue Habitat, one of  the largest student groups on the West Lafayette campus. Members of Rotary and more than a dozen representatives of the Purdue Office of the Dean of Students joined in the work.  The project was made possible through support of last September's Gus Macker three-on-three basketball tournament played in St. Elizabeth Medical Center's parking lots.

Basham Rentals, the presenting sponsor, contributed $20,000. Official sponsors were Chase Bank, INOK commercial park, University Book Store and MarJean Village, $5,000; Arni's, $2,500; and the Lafayette-West Lafayette Convention & Visitor's Bureau, $2,000.

Their donations, combined with court sponsorship and registration fees paid by the teams, brought in almost $60,000.

Bill Cardwell of sponsor Chase Bank drywalls house
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"When I agreed to help fund Gus Macker, I knew I was supporting a worthy effort, and I saw it as a way of giving back to the Purdue students and community. It was a healthy outlet for the kids' energy. But the breadth of what came from it is pretty amazing," John Basham said.

"The money raised in Gus Macker is helping to pay for this house - and the home it will become for Lisa. She, in turn, has learned skills in building that will help her build other Habitat homes and also keep hers in good repair.

"The Purdue students who were key to organizing Macker and building this home also learned invaluable skills in leadership, community service and homebuilding," said Rotarian James Klusman, recently retired director of the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette.

Another $10,000 raised by the tournament will help Rotary build a new playground for all the children in the neighborhood of the former Washington Elementary School.
Jim Bodenmiller greets future occupants
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The playground is part of the CAPE project, the Greater Lafayette Community Foundation's Community Alliances to Promote Education, which promotes early childhood education in Tippecanoe County. In 2005 the program was launched with a $1.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. The Community and Family Resource Center administers the grant.

"The playground will provide fun, fitness, educational development and community, all in one," Klusman said.

Rotary is still working to raise the remaining $15,000 for the playground and will team up with Habitat and Purdue Habitat to sponsor another Gus Macker tournament on Sept. 22-23 in Lafayette. Proceeds from next September's event will sponsor an additional Habitat house and raise funds to complete the playground project.
Purdue student Misha Ownbey prepares drywall
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"The fundraising for Gus Macker work begins with finding sponsors for the overall event, for courts and for teams," Klusman said. "Our three-way partnership is a terrific combination: Habitat provides the know-how because it's been involved with Macker for 10 years. Purdue Habitat provides a great deal of enthusiasm and manpower, and the students are the driving force. Lafayette Rotary's 224 members provide the experience and the community connections, as well as workers."

The three groups hope to attract 400-500 teams - as many as 2,000 players plus their families and friends - doubling last year's event.

"We learned a lot last year, which was the first time we were involved," Klusman said. "Our goal for 2007 is pretty realistic: $70,000."

The Purdue Student Habitat Chapter has 300 members and has been on campus for more than 15 years. Dan Guildenbecher, a graduate student in mechanical engineering from Carmel, Ind., led the club's Gus Macker participation and has hammered side by side with Lisa through the winter to frame the house.

"This has been contagious," Guildenbecher said. "We're very grateful for all the support we've received from campus, and the fact that the dean of students office will turn out to help is mind-boggling. It just shows that when a Purdue group takes leadership there is a Boilermaker army behind it ready to help."
Pablo Malavenda attaches drywall
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The two-story house stands with a half dozen others on Weaver Court, looking down on the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks. The narrow street is paved, and the land was donated by Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Program. The 1,200-square-foot house is clad in gray siding, with land for a grassy back yard. Valued at $88,000, Habitat can build it for half that price thanks to volunteer labor and donated supplies and equipment.

Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette has enabled community volunteers to build 145 houses since the organization was formed in 1985. Habitat plans to build another 14 homes this year. Eighty percent of the Lafayette Habitat budget comes from private sources such as churches, individuals and businesses. Federal HOME funds, allocated through the City of Lafayette Redevelopment Office, are used for land acquisition and infrastructure development. No federal money is used for the house itself.

Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and renovates houses with the help of the homeowner families. Bickett, for example, will contribute 250 hours of sweat equity, half on her home and half on other Habitat projects. When Bickett's house is done, she will then buy it interest free. For each house built, Habitat allocates a portion of the funds raised to build at least one more house in a developing country.

The Lafayette Journal and Courier and WLFI TV are among the first sponsors to enlist for the 2007 Lafayette Gus Macker. Other Gus Macker tournaments in Indiana are scheduled for July 21-22 in Muncie and Aug. 11-12 in Kokomo. Each raises money for a variety projects in their own community.

Writer: Jeanne Norberg, 765-494-2084;

Sources: Dan Guildenbecher, (765)-404-5370,

James  Klusman, 765-447-7083,

Doug Taylor, executive director, Habitat for Humanity, Lafayette: 765-423-4590

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

John Basham receives a commemorative Gus Macker basketball from Habitat for Humanity house recipient Lisa Bickett on Feb. 10. Basham Rentals, which operates off-campus housing for Purdue students, was a sponsor and contributed $20,000 to the 2006 basketball tournament that was organized by the Lafayette Rotary Club and the Purdue Habitat for Humanity student chapter. Proceeds from the event are being used to build Bickett's house. (Purdue News Service photo/Jim Schenke)

A publication-quality photo is available at

Bill Cardwell, a financial adviser for Chase Bank, custom fits drywall for the Gus Macker Habitat for Humanity House on Feb. 10. Chase Bank co-sponsored the Gus Macker three-on-three basketball tournament, which was organized by the Lafayette Rotary Club and the Purdue Habitat for Humanity campus chapter. Proceeds pay for construction materials for the volunteer-built house. (Purdue News Service photo/Jim Schenke)

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Rotarian Jim Bodenmiller meets future homeowner Lisa Bickett and her daughter Keylee inside the Gus Macker Habitat for Humanity House on Feb. 10. Proceeds from the Gus Macker three-on three basketball tournament, organized by the Lafayette Rotary Club and the Purdue Habitat for Humanity student chapter, are being used to build the house that will be the Bicketts' home.  (Purdue News Service photo/Jim Schenke)

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Purdue sophomore Misha Ownbey, 20, of St. John, Ind., prepares drywall to be hung in the Gus Macker Habitat for Humanity house in Lafayette, Ind., on Feb. 10. The biology major joined Purdue's Habitat for Humanity student chapter as a freshman because she wanted to provide hands-on service in the community. Ownbey helped solicit donations from local businesses for the the 2006 Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Lafayette. Proceeds from the event are being used to build a Habitat home for single mother Lisa Bickett. (Purdue News Service photo/Jim Schenke)

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Pablo Malavenda, Purdue's associate dean of students, attaches drywall inside the Gus Macker Habitat for Humanity house in Lafayette, Ind. On Feb. 10, volunteers from the Office of the Dean of Students, the Purdue Habitat for Humanity student chapter and local Rotary worked alongside future homeowner Lisa Bickett during the Boiler Volunteer Network's third annual Share the Love community action day. (Purdue News Service photo/Jim Schenke)

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