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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
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BUILD to dedicate medical units to victims of ’99 Bonfire collapse


Engineering freshman Lee Cooper helps finish one of the medical pods.

Photo by Tanner Garza

In a Saturday ceremony, BUILD will dedicate the medical units its volunteers have built to four of the students who died in the Bonfire collapse of 1999.
Mitchell Maybury, BUILD operations and logistics team leader, said the specific students have yet to be finalized. He said with all the Aggie spirit and selfless service poured into the project, it seemed fitting to build the units in honor of those lost in the collapse.
“Bonfire was camaraderie, friendships and unity, and BUILD wanted to capture that same spirit,” Maybury said. “We felt it was only natural to honor those lost in Bonfire because as we remember each student who fell that awful night. We also remember what it means to be a part of the Aggie family.”
Gordon Carstens, animal science professor and BUILD faculty adviser, said the organization aims to eventually have 12 clinics total in the future — one to represent each of the 12 students who died in the collapse.
“I get chills just thinking about it,” Carstens said. “It is an honor to work with these students and to see their unselfish desire to benefit others. Hopefully this will become a lasting tradition.”
Maybury said BUILD works to unite students from all over campus under a common goal.
“Volunteers make this project possible,” Maybury said. “Without them, we would just have big metal boxes. BUILD helps develop relationships with all students on campus. An MBA student could be painting in between a freshman engineer and a student athlete. It epitomizes Texas A&M’s core value of selfless service by providing a means to serve those in Haiti, Honduras, Bolivia and Columbia.”
From scraping rust to installing AC units, nearly 700 pairs of hands reached out to help this project become a reality — 30 command team members, 50 student supervisors, 10 adult advisors more than 600 volunteers and numerous people throughout the university contributed their service in order to create the finished product.
Two of the units were completed Thursday, and Maybury said the other two are expected to be finished by Saturday, when BUILD will host an open house event for the public to view the fully equipped clinics at their tailgate location at the Grove starting at 3:30 p.m.
“When you take a step back and see the big picture, this project reaches much more than just this campus,” Maybury said. “Each student that has helped with this project has played a role in impacting thousands of lives in Central and South America. At the time, scraping rust or painting a wall might not seem like much, but the collective efforts have gone toward something that will provide healthcare to thousands of people in Central and South America.”

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