Nineteen Soldiers from the 11th Engineer Battalion helped build several Habitat for Humanity houses last week in south Columbus. They partnered with college students on spring break to provide housing for low-income families at a low, interest-free cost.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a great opportunity to be involved with the Columbus community and for the Soldiers and students to get to know each other,Aca,!A? said CPT Vanessa Stolzoff, OIC during the construction.

Aca,!A"If you live in a community, you need to help out and be involved in your community,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs also great training for the Soldiers. TheyAca,!a,,cre not only improving their skills, theyAca,!a,,cre learning to work as a team. They actually get to build from the ground up.Aca,!A?

Stolzoff said she enjoyed getting to know the students throughout the week as they worked side by side.

The students, in turn, made friends with the engineers and learned a little bit about the military.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs been an amazing experience Aca,!" the stories they share with us, just getting to know each other. The friendships weAca,!a,,cve built with the Soldiers this week will last a lifetime,Aca,!A? said Kaitlin Mulqueen, a student from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, who plans to send care packages to the engineers she has met when they deploy.

Aca,!A"It shows that no matter whatAca,!a,,cs going on in the world, people can come together,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre both here building dreams for a family.Aca,!A?

SPC Keith Quevedo, 60th Engineer Company, wasnAca,!a,,ct thinking about building dreams when he volunteered to help construct the homes.

Aca,!A"I never actually went that deep into it,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"I just work. They told us 80 percent of the people had never touched a hammer in their life, so I said, Aca,!EoeWell, letAca,!a,,cs go train some people.Aca,!a,,c ItAca,!a,,cs just something you have to do Aca,!A| because it needs to be done.Aca,!A?

With electrical and carpentry experience in both the military and civilian sectors, Quevedo hoped he could help the students meet their construction deadline.

He enjoyed the work and the opportunity to show the students the professionalism and competency of the military, he said.

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm a Soldier,Aca,!A? Quevedo said. Aca,!A"I try to uphold the values, and part of it is dedication, duty, hard work, loyalty to these students, personal courage to get up on that roof Aca,!" all part of leadership. These guys need my help, so I was going to help out.Aca,!A?

After five days of steady construction, the exteriors of the buildings were completed Friday. The interiors will be finished in April.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity, visit or call 706-653-6003.