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Milligan College Restoration Crew prepares campus for new year

By Steve Burwick
Star Staff
sburwick@starhq.com

Who says young folks have all the energy?

If you happened to drive through the campus of Milligan College last week, chances are you would have spotted some hard-working men and women — some of them retired — laboring to prepare the campus for the new school year which begins later this month.

Every year, volunteers come from various places to participate in campus improvement projects as members of the summer restoration crew. This year, 20 people offered their services. Some of them are Milligan alumni, and some have children who either graduated or currently attend the college.

“Both of my kids graduated here. Byron was in business administration and Beth graduated in education,” said Butch Dunsmore of Shelbyville, Ky.

“I retired in April from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency,” Dunsmore added. “There are several from Shelby Christian Church who come down here, so we all came together. There are three couples that came on this trip, and it’s my first year. It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding. I’d rather be outside doing something than I would inside.”

“My daughter Sarah graduated here in 2003 with a degree in biology and then did her master’s in occupational therapy in 2005,” said Ed Hugunin, who works for John Deere and designs computer software in Fulton, Ill.

“Milligan gave my daughter a good education, and one year we saw (this program) in their magazine and we thought, ‘Hey, this would be a fun thing to do.’ We meet a lot of good people and have a real good time,” Hugunin added.

In addition, he said the work is fun.

“These guys said they needed help,” said Petie Case, another parent from Shelbyville, Ky. “Several up there that are graduates will come down here, and a lot of them couldn’t make it so they got somebody to take their place, and my wife and I volunteered.”

Along with Hugunin and Dunsmore, Case was working under the supervision of retired local contractor Frank Jarrett, who has been involved in many campus projects over the years.

“We’re building forms right now,” said Case. “We formed a sidewalk on the other side of the campus, and then we trimmed some of the bushes. We did some powerwashing at different places, and now we’re building a handicap ramp here.”

“We started this in the late 1990s,” said Clarinda Jeanes, wife of Milligan College President Donald Jeanes and organizer of the yearly restoration project. “Some are just friends, and some are from supporting churches that send their members.”

Jeanes said the college houses the volunteers in a dorm and also feeds them. In turn, she said, they work on campus for a week. “They work from about 9 a.m. to about 4 p.m.,” she noted.

“It really helps us get a lot of projects done,” Jeanes said. “They paint, they frame and pour sidewalks and make handicap ramps, and they catch up on cleaning projects and landscaping projects.

“They bring different expertise,” she continued. “We have a gentleman that’s very good with woodworking, and he is doing some chair moldings for us.”

“Every year we get different kinds of chores, but usually they consist of painting and cleaning for the women,” said Hugunin’s wife, Cheryl, who works as a registered nurse. “Some of them do decorating, like special paint jobs and making curtains.

“Today our job was to clean bathrooms to make them presentable for when the parents come through,” she continued. “This is a big house to keep up, and Clarinda likes to keep it up to standards, which is a big job. They feed us and let us sleep in the dorm, so what more could you want?”

“We’ve been doing this since the beginning, which was around 1998. We missed maybe two or three years for different things,” said Jim Rice, a retired psychiatrist from Columbia, S.C., who has been a trustee at Milligan for about 15 years.

“My first minister was a graduate, and he told me about Milligan,” Rice said. “My two boys graduated here.”

Both sons, he said, majored in biology.

“One daughter was here three years but then went over to ETSU to get a nursing degree,” Rice said. “That was before we had the nursing program here. The other girl went here one year.”

Rice, who was working up a sweat cleaning out the heaters in Webb and Sutton Halls with an industrial vacuum, spoke of past work. “Previously I painted some and replaced some of the ceilings, and built a fence by the ball park,” he said. “We started the wall down by the soccer field.”

According to Rice, all the volunteers look forward to coming to campus to work each year. “We have a lot of fun and fellowship with the other people that come,” he said. “We enjoy being with Don and Clarinda. They’re great people.”

Cheryl Hugunin said she and her husband have to plan ahead in order to take a week’s vacation to participate in the annual summer restoration work.

“We enjoy getting to know Don and Clarinda and all the people down here in Tennessee,” she explained. “We work pretty much all day and then we get cleaned up and have supper.”

After the meal, she said everyone gets together in the dorm to relax, visit and play dominos.

“We have made a lot of friends over the years,” she said.

Faculty and staff will set aside their own work day on Friday, Aug. 10.

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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