Huntsman Students Rally To Help Homeowners Dealing With Water Damage
By Connor Child
A home in the Bear Lake area was severely damaged over the winter when some pipes broke, gushing thousands of gallons of water throughout the house. The owners of the home found capable helpers in their time of crisis when they contacted the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
Authorities from Garden City contacted John and Connie Hancock in January when they were out of town to tell them that their house had been flooding for a week. When the Hancocks saw the extensive damage the flooding had caused, a friend suggested that they contact the Huntsman School given its reputation for service in the community. One of the phone calls Connie made was to Ron Welker, who was teaching a management class at the time in which students were required to provide meaningful service.
Mr. Welker told his students about the potential project, and a group of students led by Matt Seely decided to help out. The students contacted the Hancocks, and soon thereafter they began making frequent trips to Bear Lake to help the Hancocks in their time of crisis.
“These kids blessed our lives, and we have such gratitude for them…It’s very touching,” Ms. Hancock said. “They helped lift our spirits. It was amazing because they don’t know us and they gave freely. It was such an example of how we should behave. I want to be more like that in life.”
Ms. Hancock said the students were willing to help when virtually no one else would. Their insurance company initially denied that they had coverage, but she said things are starting to look better on that front. In addition, Matt said, many in the community were reluctant to help out since it wasn’t the Hancock’s primary residence.
“Regardless of whether it was their second home or first home, they were in a financial crisis,” Matt said. “I just feel grateful that the team I was working with was willing to step up and take that challenge and help them without scrutinizing them or being critical of their situation.”
The presumable cause of the broken pipes was a power surge in mid-January that shut off the furnace, causing the pipes to freeze. They suspect that more than 100,000 gallons of water were pumped into the house, starting on the top floor and affecting everything in its path. Connie said everything was covered in ice when they arrived at the home.
The entire house had to be gutted, and Matt said his group put in a combined 150 hours to help with the process. The work never seemed to stop, Matt said, and there is still a lot more to do, but he is grateful that he was able to help, and hopes he can stay in contact with the Hancocks.
“Our school has a reputation for service, as evidenced by the fact that Connie and John were told to contact us shortly after the event,” Matt said. “I am honored to be at a school that values service so much, and I am thankful that we were able to step up and help in their time of need.”