Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-12-16

For the 9th consecutive year, Samford University has helped to provide a “home for the holidays” for a deserving family as part of a special partnership with the Birmingham affiliate of Habitat for Humanity.

Dedication ceremonies were Dec. 15 for the new home of Lula Gettridge in suburban Calera. Gettridge relocated to Birmingham after Hurricane Katrina hit her hometown of New Orleans. Gettridge has primary care for her adult brother, Nathan Green, who will share the new house with her.

Morgan Ponder, Samford chemistry professor and faculty advisor for the Samford’s student Habitat affiliate, presented a Bible to Gettridge during dedication ceremonies. “May the love expressed in this book be found throughout your new home,” Ponder said.

The “home for the holidays” project began in 2003 and is jointly coordinated by Habitat and ABC 33/40. Volunteers from 10 corporate sponsors take one day and help build a new house as an early Christmas gift for a family that has been vetted through Habitat’s selection process. Samford is the only corporate sponsor, other than Habitat and ABC 33/40, to participate in each of the nine years.

More than 60 Samford students, employees and alumni participated in the university’s volunteer day on Saturday, Dec. 3. This year’s build day was part of the larger “Samford Gives Back” community service day sponsored by Samford’s Omicron Delta Kappa chapter. Samford’s Habitat for Humanity student affiliate also sponsors a home build each spring.

Gettridge has lived in Birmingham since 2005 and works at Brookwood Medical Center near the Samford campus. She also has three adult children and four grandchildren.

“Owning a home creates stability and security in my life,” Gettridge said. “This is truly a blessing. I am very grateful and thankful for this opportunity. A home will give me the peace of mind I’ve always been missing.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.