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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 mankind.

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 grow up?

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 choose Elon?

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 region.

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?

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.

E-mail Gilmore in Guatemala. He'd love to hear from you.