By Chelsie Gastright, Organizations Editor
September 19, 2012
“It means a lot to me,” said 75-year-old Harry Williams, chuckling softly. It was all he had to say, but you could tell he meant much more. The retired High Point native has been in the area for 25 years and volunteers at his local church as an usher. During all 25 years in High Point, he has given and received plenty, but nothing compares to what a sorority at High Point University is giving him.
Zeta Tau Alpha, commonly referred to as Zeta, has been given the opportunity to help rebuild and clean up homes around the High Point area through a $1,500 grant given by the university on the weekend of Sept. 22 and 23.
Paige Risner, the current service chair for Zeta, has been working on the project since May of this year. After a lengthy process of filling out paperwork, creating an application and interviewing potential homeowners, she finally found three deserving families. One of those homes belongs to Williams.
“It’s an honor and a blessing for this to be done for our father,” said Angel Williams, one of Williams’ seven children.
A second family that is receiving the aid of Zeta members is a 75-year-old woman with two young children. The home desperately needs a new door, and Zeta is prepared to replace the door and do several other projects during the event.
Some of the other minor projects that Zeta is planning include painting, caulking windows, hanging gutters and yard work.
Beyond the rebuild, HPU has given Zeta access to the ice cream truck so that they can give out ice cream to the children around the local neighborhoods.
“Nobody has done anything like this before; this is our way to make our mark,” said Risner.
Sarah Roof, current president of the HPU chapter of Zeta, explained that being a part of Zeta is about building friendships and being involved in the community. This service project is a perfect way to give back to the town that the students call their home for nine months out of the year.
“We love to do service, it’s kind of like our niche. It’s something we do well, and it’s one of our strong points,” said Roof.
Risner and Roof both hope that this can become an annual event, using this year as a way to reach out to the rest of the High Point community. They also both agreed that having this opportunity means opening the doors for members of other Greek organizations to follow suit and begin their own community rebuild projects.
“There is so much help that this community needs. I drive through the neighborhood and I see the houses we are working on, and just next door is another one that needs just as much work or more,” said Risner.
Williams and the other two families will be receiving the help they could not otherwise do themselves, and through the eyes of a retired 75-year-old man and his family, there is no better blessing.