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CU students build fence, scoop poop

Students with Cameron University Baptist Collegiate Ministries spent their spring break scooping up dog poop and digging through the wet, Louisiana clay during a mission trip to New Orleans.

Fourteen students traveled from Lawton to New Orleans and joined over 90 students with First Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas, to fill requests that had been given to the New Orleans Baptist Association. 

The Cameron students were divided into two teams. One team of all Cameron students assisted a New Orleans resident by rebuilding a privacy fence, which had been torn down by the February EF-3 tornado. The second Cameron group joined with students from Lubbock to help with maintenance at the Villalobos Rescue Center, the center featured on the Animal Planet show "Pit Bulls and Parolees."

According to Danny Toombs, Cameron University Baptist Collegiate Ministries director, it had rained the day before the fence group was going to begin construction on the new fence, which made for a dirty and difficult task.

"It rained Sunday night and we go in Monday trying to work with wet Louisiana clay," Toombs said. "It was quite messy that day."

The group began by digging up two sets of cement blocks that had held each pole in previous fences. The resident's fence had been torn down during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was rebuilt and then torn down again during February's tornado. It took the group a day and a half to dig out all of the cement blocks.

Jeremy Redbird, with the local ministry, said the resident was appreciative of the group's hard work.

"We were his first volunteer team he had ever worked with," Redbird said. "He was very thankful for what we were doing and taking our time to spend our spring break down there putting up a fence for him."

Toward the end of the group's trip, the building of the fence became harder. On the last day of construction, the group had to stop building the fence a couple of times, but Redbird said the group persisted with the task at hand.

"There were plenty of moments where we could've caught a bad attitude or argued about something, but we chose to do the right thing and put that aside so that we could finish the task," Redbird said. "The actual last day, we had to restart the fence a couple of times and it was really frustrating for all of us because we were doing so much and we were starting to make progress but we had to back up because our levels were off and it was really infuriating."

But by the end of the trip, the group was able to complete the fence.

"I was really proud," Redbird said. "It may have not been the most perfect fence, but it was finished nonetheless. And the family we were serving were really happy."

When the group of Cameron students went to go volunteer at the rescue center, their initial understanding was that they would be working with and witnessing to the center's employees. What they ended up doing was assisting with routine maintenance  cleaning kennels and shoveling dog poop. They also assisted with special tasks such as pulling weeds, shoveling gravel, painting and cleaning the sidewalk. All of the tasks were to help the shelter prepare for upcoming filming for "Pit Bulls and Parolees."

Cameron student Charles Hefner said it took the group 2 days to remove weeds from the top of the center's gravel.

The Lawton Constitution

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