Project Children Chairman Denis Mulcahy reflects on his experience with the interns in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

"Project Children has helped to lay the foundation for peace in Northern Ireland and we hope that this foundation is instilled in the next generation, as they become the new leaders. The youth of today will be the leaders for tomorrow. There have been so many wonderful people who have participated in the Habitat program, and this year was no exception. The young adults worked together to achieve a common goal, and built friendships along with the house. For me as Chairman of Project Children, it was a great experience to have the opportunity to work with this incredible group of interns. The project was a huge success thanks to the hard work from all who took part. Our coordinators in Northern Ireland, Monica Culbert, Sally Brennan, Maire Therese Griffen and Paul Lecky, who screen all the applicants, and choose the interns, did an exceptional job, preparing the interns prior to their trip. The partnership between Project Children and Habitat for Humanity is a natural one. Both organizations know the value of finding common ground, working together and making good things happen. 

I would like to thank Habitat For Humanity- Tuscaloosa for organizing our trip to Tuscaloosa. Also, the Volunteer Coordinator, Jared Patterson, Construction Director, Brandon Kasteler, and Site Supervisor, Peter Salemme, have been very supportive and helpful to us. They secured our room and board at the Y’s Acres Camp. We worked on three houses. One was for Robert Hicks, an Army veteran who was disabled and had been unable to keep up his house repairs. Thanks to a government grant and Habitat for Humanity, we played a large role in completing this renovation/restoration of his home. We also worked on repairing the home of Denise Harris that she shared with her grandson. The house needed foundation repairs, new floors and new ceilings. The third home was for Emily Hamler. Emily had been paralyzed from the neck down due to a car accident. The interns also got to experience the dedication of a house that had been worked on the previous week by other volunteers. It was a heartwarming experience. Special thanks again this year to the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity of the University of Alabama for the welcoming party and delicious barbecue. Thanks to Bob Pugh, the Director of Risk Management at the University, for making the university swimming pool available to the interns after long hot days of work, and for organizing the tour of Bear Bryant Football Stadium. We also want to thank IBEW Local 136’s Business Manager, Jerry Keenum, along with his assistant, James “Pee Wee” Reece for the Southern home cooked meal of pulled pork and all the fixings, and the shirts and caps for the interns. 

Thank you to Honorable L. Scott Coogler (Judge Coogler) who provided an internship again this year, and to Daniel and Amanda Maguire for hosting the intern. Daniel and Amanda also hosted a wonderful dinner one of the evenings for all the interns. I would also like to thank our supervisors, Sam Gormley, Brendan Morgan, Pat Costello, Al DeBenedictis, Rich Hackford, Anthony Massey, Tom Kinirons and his grandson Nick Rung, and Pat and Gwen Kelly. Every year, Gwen organizes wonderful meals to keep the crew well fed. On the New York side, special thanks to JoJo and Ray Gallagher for organizing a wonderful weekend in New York for all the interns to get together and share their summer experience before returning home I would also like to thank our donors and supporters who raise money for Project Children to fund the intern program, especially Joe Walsh and his family who run our annual golf tournament and major contributors from the Michael J. Miller Memorial Fund and the Sarah I. Schieffelin Residuary Trust. We also appreciate the contributions from the golf tournaments run by Gerry Robinson’s “Irish Open” in Massachusetts, Pat Costello in Utica, New York, and Betty Walsh with the Walsh Foundation in Albany, New York. Also, thanks to all our coordinators and volunteers, as well as our host families, without which none of this would be possible."