Wed. Oct 16th, 2019

Spring Breakaway

CEU’s Spring Breakaway group left Price on the morning of March 16, arriving back March 20. This team of remarkable, fantastic students provided the organization, muscle, sweat and perseverance to build two ramps with hand rails, painted the inside and outside of a hogan, dissemble an old corral and build a much larger corral with a full south side shade and hay storage room, rebuild a goat-kid corral with total shade, reinforced a large goat corral, build a wood box, chopped and filled it with wood, assembled one dog house and re-skirt and fortify a mobile home with mine belting.

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CEU’s Spring Breakaway group left Price on the morning of March 16, arriving back March 20. This team of remarkable, fantastic students provided the organization, muscle, sweat and perseverance to build two ramps with hand rails, painted the inside and outside of a hogan, dissemble an old corral and build a much larger corral with a full south side shade and hay storage room, rebuild a goat-kid corral with total shade, reinforced a large goat corral, build a wood box, chopped and filled it with wood, assembled one dog house and re-skirt and fortify a mobile home with mine belting.
The history of the SUN Center’s Spring Breakaway to the Navajo Nation started in 2007 when Nancy Bentley, a SUN Center board member and the director of the Active Re-Entry of Eastern Utah, approached the SUN Center with the question, “What are your students doing for spring break this year?”
She told about a blind Navajo lady who needed an outhouse. United Way, being interested in assisting needy people in that part of Utah, joined together with the Breakaway students, Active Re-entry and a motivated coalition unified in a goal to serve and moved forward. The partnership has continued for the third year.
This year, Mikenzi Bentley was chosen as the Breakaway project leader. Funding was provided by partners CEU Alumni, Youth Linc, Active-Re-Entry of Southeastern Utah, and Untied Way of Southeastern Utah. Active Re-Entry of Southeastern Utah’s Moab Office made several trips to the Navajo area to find projects that assist disabled and Elderly Navajos.
Students attending this year included Chris Beven, Bentley, Kendal Bird, Ben Bjarnson, Kevin Bunnell, Jenny Cawley, Jason Clyde, Becky Deleeuw, Allison Guy, Maren Hebdon, Jana Keller, Kris Lester, Shaully Morris, Ashlie Nacey, Lynn Prince, Kris Sanford, Cole Unsworth and Korinne Young.
In order to prepare, organize and arrange for the trip, many meetings and phone conferences transpired. Several students were asked to be over the building projects. Bunnell designed and oversaw building of the large ramp. Bjarnson was over installing a pre-made ramp by CEU Welding Department. Unsworth and Sanford were in charge of the large corral and met with Boyd Marsing, a long-time and respected rancher in the area, who helped them with their design. Bevan, Lester and Prince were also over projects taking many hours of preparation and planning.
Many community members contributed their services to help make this week a success. Dingman Lumber Co. in Cleveland donated the special slab lumber that was so desperately needed after previous plans to purchase the lumber nearer the building site fell through. Lester’s brother loaned his truck and trailer to haul the large load. Mike Keller also lent a ramp to haul wood in preparation.
When some students were loading wood the Saturday before Breakaway, Tony Bueno ran several pairs of gloves across the street to save their splintered hands. These gloves were used all week. Bjarnson’s father loaned his generator and chainsaws. The generator had a bad accident and bounced out of the truck on the washboard road. Working with people who didn’t have power was a large concern to the students and the fate of the projects.
Stan Martineau from CEU’s automotive department, agreed to see if he could repair the generator. If not, the club was accepting donations. Superman still lives in the form of the Steve Carlsons who heard the call for help and left Price at 3 a.m. Thursday to bring the group more slab wood and a generator. They spent the day helping to finish the projects. Many community members pulled together to make this week one of the best Spring Breakaways yet.
The group stayed in Bluff, Utah, at the historical St. Christopher’s Mission which is rustic and an experience in and of itself. Insight to the culture of the Native American’s at the CEU San Juan Center was given to the group. The students went to Hovenweep National Park for more insight to the history of the people. The group worked with Navajos that didn’t speak English who didn’t have power or water in their homes.
Bjarnson commented, “The view was breathtaking from Louise’s house, it is one of the most beautiful things that I’ve ever seen.”
This project was a wonderful experience for everyone that was involved. Jana Keller wrote, “When you all work together and do your part your accomplishments can be great.” The Navajo people received assistance, but the greater affect was on the volunteers.
During the week the students learned about a different way of life and gained a renewed appreciation for the luxuries enjoyed and taken for granted. They returned with greater unity, a desire to serve more, new building skills, sunburns aplenty, and a realization that they had experienced an opportunity of a lifetime. Jenny Cawley observed, “Getting to work hard and make a difference with the people you love, builds and strengthens friendships … the service is better for you than for the people you serve.” This project was proof that there is power in unity.

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