The House That Kevin Built - March 2001
Excerpts from Cross & Crescent, Winter 2000
By S. George "Doc" Dirghalli and Betsy K. Bly
While most of us are familiar
with the name Habitat for Humanity, it's a fair bet that few fully
understand what the organization does--nor would many have a clear
grasp of the impact and international scope of their service to
Kevin J. Gilmore, Elon '96,
has been involved in one sort of service work or another for a good
part of his life. Since 1998 he has worked with Habitat in Guatemala--having
served locally while he was still in school. What is it like and
what motivates someone to dedicate their life to the well-being
of others? We decided to put together a list of questions and let
Gilmore tell you in his words.
Q. Where did you
A. I grew up in Milford,
Delaware, and was fortunate enough to be raised in a wonderful
family. Being the youngest of three children, I was the last one
to leave home. My brother is eight years older and my sister four
years older than me. They are both still in the Milford area and
enjoying life with their own families.
Q. What made you
A. At Elon, I studied
corporate communications and earned a minor in Spanish. I chose
Elon because I wanted a small school environment that valued experiential
education. While not in class, I spent much of my time working
with the student-run volunteer program--Elon Volunteers!.
Q. Why Lambda Chi?
A. When entering
college, I had not thought much about joining a Greek organization.
As a second semester freshman, I was eligible for rush. During
the time preceding rush, I had the opportunity to meet a number
of the older brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha. They were guys that
I respected and really appreciated how they were living their
lives. If there was any Greek organization that I wanted to be
affiliated with, Lambda Chi was it.
During the rush process,
I learned more about the Fraternity and the type of projects that
the members were involved in. I also appreciated learning that
many of the teaching of the Fraternity were basic biblical principles.
Aside from the diversity
of the brotherhood at that time, I also really believed in the
idea of the associate member program. This was a concept that
was unique to Lambda Chi on our campus. I was always proud to
be a brother of Delta-Pi Zeta and saw my participation in Lambda
Chi as a great addition to my life.
Q. Did Lambda Chi
Alpha have any impact on your decision to join Habitat for Humanity?
A. I always appreciate
the fact that Lambda Chi is a service-oriented fraternity, and
throughout the service projects that our chapter sponsored, I
always enjoyed participating and talking with the brothers before
and after the experience to see their point of view on it. Most
of my Habitat work in college was apart from the chapter, but
I always felt support from the brothers.
Q. How long have
you been in Guatemala?
A. I arrived in Guatemala
during September 1998. This was after two months of International
Partner training with Habitat for Humanity International--one
month at our headquarters in Americus, Georgia, and a month in
the field. In Americus, I was with a group going off to work all
around the world--from Papua New Guinea, to Kenya, to Hungary,
and Bolivia. In the second month, we all went to our region of
the world. In my case the training was in Costa Rica, where we
continued working with local staff on issues pertinent to that
Q. One of the basic
tenants of Lambda Chi Alpha is to be of service to mankind. Do you
have anything you would like to say or advice to share with your
brothers on this topic?
Gilmore in Guatemala. He'd love to hear from you.
A. In addition to
being a tenet of Lambda Chi, I see being of service to mankind
as an obligation to humanity. We are all in this world together,
and I think we have a responsibility to this world. For some people,
their main world is their family, for others their community or
country--and, for some, another country. Either way, I think that
everyone needs the help of others at some point and that we should
be there for others when we are in a position to do so.
My advice to our brothers
is to go out and do something for someone else--and before you
do it, stop and think about why. Afterward, ask yourself how this
affected you and the other person.