Members of the Darton College wrestling team pose for a photo outside of a new home in East Albany they helped build for a pregnant mother of two over the weekend on behalf of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The team put in several hours installing flooring and debris removal. Those lending a hand were, from left, Jeff Drever, Mookie Noel, Henry Floyd, Dillan Schouw, Tracy Jewett, Cole Claar, Trey Hicks, Terry Harris, Dametres Ellis, Tavaris Kirkland, Darton head wrestling coach Chris Fleeger and assistant coach Mike Miller. (Photo courtesy of David Mann/Darton College)
ALBANY — On the mat or off of it, the Darton College wrestling team is proving one thing: they have tremendous heart.
Members of the Cavaliers’ program gave back this past Friday when they joined the area chapter of Habitat For Humanity to construct a new home for a local family. The team put in several hours installing flooring and removing debris at a future residence in East Albany.
“We wanted to teach our guys about getting involved in the community so they’ll become strong leaders in their own communities (when they leave Darton),” assistant Darton wrestling coach Mike Miller said. “And we feel that opportunities like these help our guys become well-rounded socially.”
The future homeowner — a divorced, pregnant mother of two — toiled alongside the wrestlers and Habitat workers, which made an impression on Darton sophomore Jeff Drever.
“She’s out there putting in at least 50 hours with the people building the house,” he said. “She was right there working with us, and her appreciation of this project meant a lot to me.”
Drever added that it felt good to know that he helped out and that the project also afforded another chance for him to hang out with his teammates as the spring semester comes to a close.
Sophomore heavyweight Tracy Jewett volunteered to help remove felled trees from an adjacent, future home site. He also operated a chainsaw and fastened floors.
“You know, it showed us that we can help out and give back,” Jewett said. “And I think it shows that we’re not just athletes, but community members too.”
Darton, which is entering its fifth year as an NJCAA-sanctioned program, is coming off a solid season under first-year coach Chris Fleeger, who saw six members of his team qualify for nationals.