Doing the work of the world

Most college students spend their vacations parked in front of Netflix or lounging on the beach.
Ethan Jones has spent his vacations on the beach, but he wasn’t lounging. He was gutting the fragile, leftover shells of houses after a storm.
Jones has spent years of his life volunteering in areas that have been drastically affected by natural disasters. Each time, he sees a similar scene; flattened homes, yards littered with debris and distraught families. Yet each time, the experience is different.
One of his first volunteer trips he embarked on with his dad was during his sophomore year of high school. The two loaded the family car with luggage and drove from Poultney, Vt. to Galveston, Texas, a city recently crushed by Hurricane Ike.
“I remember driving into the city and my only reaction was shock,” said Jones. “Every building was on its side. Homeowners were picking over their stuff. But that’s the nature of a natural disaster, it doesn’t matter what’s in the way.”
That first experience got Jones hooked, and with the endless encouragement from his dad, he has made huge steps in the world of volunteering.
Jones spent the spring and summer months with the All Hands volunteer program, cleaning up the aftermath of hurricane Sandy and eventually becoming a Team Leader for the organization.
Two of his bigger accomplishments were coordinating separate volunteer trips to both Staten Island and Long Island. Even though it was months after the hurricane, the devastation was still everywhere.
“It was heartbreaking, but amazing to see everyone come together,” said Jones.
Bonding over disasters is a large part of Jones’ life. He has traveled to the Philippines to restore homes after the most recent typhoon and found the people there to be “truly hopeful about their situations.” Jones says that his volunteering experiences have given him a different appreciation for life.
And he has been showing that appreciation on campus and locally.
Jones has been the community liaison for the Habitat for Humanity Club for the past two years. His responsibilities include setting up local builds and projects for the students to help out with every Saturday.
Molly Stratton is one of those students who has worked side by side with Jones over the past few semesters.
“We could not have chosen a better person to take on this job,” Stratton said. “Ethan is committed and dedicated to this club, as well as with volunteering and community engagement.”
Stratton has done a total of five different trips with Jones, and thinks that this is his true calling.
Jones knows this is his calling.
Graduating in May with a health science degree, he hopes to travel the world, using his knowledge of nutrition combined with his passion for leadership to change the world one house, one person, at a time.
“Ethan is a great person,” Stratton said. “He spends a lot of time helping those in need, which is something everyone here at Castleton should look up to.”

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