Just saying, ‘Thank you’
SHEFFIELD – Sukup Manufacturing and GoServ Global were both honored Monday for their work in supplying shelter for residents in Haiti.
Shawn and Missy Kelley, representing the First Lutheran Church, of Gilmore City, presented the Sukup family and the co-founders of GoServ Global with a certification of appreciation and a miniature grain bin that featured a cross that symbolizes the Safe T Homes used by the residents of Haiti and now also in Africa and Peru.
Missy Kelley said the church sold the grain bin candle holders as a fundraiser – raising $3,600 – to collect funds toward the purchase of a Safe T Home.
The Kelleys decided that providing GoServ Global and Sukup Manufacturing with a grain bin candle holder would be an appropriate way to show appreciation for their work.
“We couldn’t think of a better gift to present to Sukup and GoServ,” said Missy Kelley.
The Kelleys anticipate they will continue fundraising efforts to provide additional Safe T Homes by offering the grain bin candles for sale in the near future.
It was after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti that Brett Nelson, Sukup’s safety director, approached Steve Sukup, chief financial officer, with the idea to make a grain bin house for those residents left homeless.
The company moved on Nelson’s idea as an opportunity to help.
The Safe T Homes measure 18 feet in diameter and are made entirely of metal, making them resistant to termites and moisture.
Sukup believes the Safe T Homes are virtually earthquake proof and each home can sleep 10 or more and some feature a loft system which helps to take advantage of every available space of the home.
“There is 254 square feet of usable space in a Safe T Home with a loft adding 50 percent more square footage,” he said.
Sukup added they are comfortable for the residents by featuring a double-roofed system that displaces heat. They also feature lockable windows and doors for added safety.
The Safe T Homes were put to the test recently when Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti.
According to Sukup, those homes withstood wind speeds up to 155 miles per hour and all 200 homes prevailed with just some minor damage, where as other homes in the area were destroyed.
The homes were able to hold up to 60 people providing them with shelter from the storm.
Ken DeYoung, co-founder of GoServ Global, saw firsthand the durability of the Safe T Home after visiting Haiti a few short days after Hurricane Matthew.
DeYoung said while there was complete devastation all around, the Safe T Homes stood strong with only minor damage to the roofs, which ended up being easy to repair as those parts that blew off of the Safe T Homes were recovered and eventually put back onto the homes.
GoServ Global was founded by DeYoung and Terry Baxter. Their mission is “GoServ Global shares God’s love by responding to disaster, empowering sustainable community development and creating world change through hands-on involvement.”
DeYoung said GoServ Global and Sukup Manufacturing began a partnership in spring 2010 after Sukup green-lighted the project.
“I have been a customer with Sukup and I have met the owners and as a small customer, meeting the owners and having Charles (Sukup), an owner of the company, personally take me through the plant, and seeing him know his employees, I was impressed,” said DeYoung. “With that, along with the quality of their product and their values as a company, we knew it would be a great partnership.”
He added GoServ Global has become a source of distribution of the Safe T Homes for Sukup Manufacturing.
“They have a sales force for selling their products, but didn’t have the means to distribute the Safe T Homes, so we have taken on that position,” said DeYoung.
He added there are future plans to continue with getting Safe T Homes to residents not only in Haiti, but expanding to other countries.
“This is just the beginning,” said DeYoung. “As funding would become available and if the government would see the values of these homes, we foresee this exploding.”
According to DeYoung, there are many benefits of the Safe T Homes.
They can be built in a day with the most simplicity of construction and they are strong and a perfect structure for those environments.
In addition to homes, DeYoung added the Safe T Homes are also used as schools, stores and churches. Soon, one will be constructed as a birthing center.
GoServ Global has helped with the construction of 200 Safe T Homes.
Currently there are 240 Safe T Homes in Haiti; 20 in Peru and 10 in Kenya.
“This is a wonderful project and we have seen they are the best suiting structure after they withstood the most recent hurricane,” said Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing.
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