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Cumberlands’ Mountain Outreach Receives Backhoe as Gift


From left to right: Mountain Outreach graduate assistant Chris Tucker and student coordinator Jonathan Bowman accept donated backhoe delivered by Jerry Diehl of Slater & Diehl Equipment Transport, Inc., Pennsburg, Penn.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — Mountain Outreach (MO), the student-led construction ministry of University of the Cumberlands, has received a gift that that will allow the group to continue giving to the community for many years to come. The recent gift of a used backhoe was actually the result of the generosity of two friends of the University.

Mike Hunyady, of Hunyady Auction Company and Hunyady Appraisal Services, Hatfield, Penn., a long-time friend of the University, recently discovered a CASE backhoe to be sold at auction. He sent a monetary gift in the amount of $11750, so that the University could purchase the piece of heavy equipment that will be such an asset to MO’s summer building program. Jerry Diehl of Slater & Diehl Equipment Transport, Inc., Pennsburg, Penn., transported and delivered the backhoe to Williamsburg from New Jersey as a gift-in-kind valued at $2,575. Although the backhoe is not new, it is in good shape with only the expected wear and tear. It is currently being serviced, getting an oil change, new belts and some repairs to the seat. It will be ready to start work when MO begins to prepare building sites in March or April.

The backhoe is a versatile piece of equipment that MO will use to dig water lines, septic systems and foundation footers. Marc Hensley, director of Mountain Outreach, said, “This gift is huge. In the past, we have had to rent heavy equipment at a rate of $75 per day for a minimum of six days to prepare a building site, now we have the equipment to do the job ourselves.”

Hensley went on to say, “The backhoe will also save us money by allowing us to stockpile enough gravel for all our summer projects at our warehouse. Gravel is cheaper in large quantities, and now we can use the backhoe to load our small dump truck with the amount we need and deliver it to each site from our warehouse. This will save us long, frequent and expensive trips to gravel quarries.”

Mountain Outreach is a student-led volunteer organization that has built 132 homes in 26 years. Throughout the year, the group also constructs wheelchair ramps and makes other small repairs and renovations for local residents, who, for physical or financial reasons, cannot make the home improvements themselves. The group has plans to build two homes during the summer of 2010: one in Whitley County, on Little Cane Creek, and one in nearby Laurel County. Approximately 45 families have already applied for the homes, with more to come. Soon after Mountain Outreach students return to campus following the Christmas break, they will begin to review the applications to choose two new homeowners, a truly daunting task.