Castleton’s Habitat club gives back

On the floor of his bedroom there were three full box sets of The Sopranos. The VHS tapes lie next to countless records and a picture of his grandchildren rested in the corner. No one was able to put a face to Norman Bissette, yet everyone knew apart of him.

Saturday, Feb. 4 the Habitat Club at Castleton University partnered up with the Veterans Outreach Program and cleaned out the late Bissette’s apartment. He lived in Rutland and served in the U.S. Navy for three and a half years.

As the students walked through the apartment, certain things stood out. Bissette was clearly a hockey enthusiast, loved his cat and from the nails on the walls, had many pictures.

Prior to Saturday, Bissette’s family had come and taken the belongings they wanted. From what was left, all that could be, was donated to organizations such as Goodwill.

Kalie Dunican, an active member of Habitat, met Richard Gallo and learned what the Veterans Outreach Program was doing. Dunican thought this was something CU Habitat would love to be part of and got him in contact with the club.

This wasn’t a normal Saturday for the members of Habitat. Typically, when the club volunteers, they assist with the building of a house, but this year has been a slow building year for the Rutland area.

“This helps us get ourselves involved in the Rutland community not just Castleton. Our next project will be in Rutland City, pairing up with Project Visions. Doing this with the Veterans Outreach Program helps us broaden our community service base.” Molly Johnson, President of the Habitat Club at CU said. 

According to Gallo, an Outreach Specialist for the Veterans Outreach Program, they are sponsored by the Vermont National Guard.

“We sponsor mostly combat veterans but also any veterans throughout the state. We provide them resources and activities.” said Gallo.

The Habitat for Humanity Club told Gallo they would be more than happy to assist in future clean ups. Gallo said they do not typically do apartment clean outs, but would contact the club if there were another one. Cleaning out a deceased living space helps give the family closure, and makes it easier on them.



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