News 12 @ 11 Oct. 15
Aiken, SC--" The last thing we do is dedicate that house, say a prayer and we hand that family the keys to the door and they're crying and everytime they're so appreciative to get what we would call a storage shed almost." said Larry Milner.
It's become the calling for USC Aiken Cross Country coach Larry Milner the past few years. Besides coaching, Milner packs his tools and heads to Mexico to help build homes for those who need it.
Milner added, "A group from Millbrooke Baptist Church was going to Mexico to build these small houses for people
and I signed up."
He's also traveld to New Orleans to help in the rebuilding process there and was hit by the devastation from hurricane Katrina.
"You see it on TV, but unless you see it in person you can't imagine the real devastation that's down there."
Add to it helping locally with Habitat For Humanity and World Changers, Milner the handman is pretty busy and does it all with a smile. Even his family's become involved. The banner hanging in the convocation center is of his daughter running a year ago. She, along with her sister, brother and Miilner's wife have made the trip to Mexico.
Milner said, "We had pretty much warned them what to expect. I don't think they were shocked but it certainly gave them a new appreciation for what we have here."
While we take sports for granted here, in many parts of Mexico a simple ball can be a life changer.
"They're soccer fields are a dirt area and they fashion some kind of goal. The rocks in the field don't matter. If the kids have a ball they'll play all day long."
But putting a roof over a family's head is the greatest of accomplishments.
Milner said, "You come in and build them a 12' by 16' house and they consider it a mansion. It gets them dry and up off the ground and the appreciation they show is unbelievable."
After telling the team about his journey, Milner says some of the girls have expressed interest in going with him to help out. Milner is heading back to Mexico in a couple of weeks and will have a tool belt in tow.