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SCC Laurel Construction Technology Students Assist in Building Group Home in Rockcastle County

construction studentsStudents in Travis McQueens Construction Technology program at SCC helped build a house for a local non-profit called The Home of Opportunities and Dreams, or HOOD. Students have worked under the supervision of McQueen to pour the footers and foundation for the home, do all the framing for the home and more. Their goal, McQueen said, is to get the structure under roof and install all doors and windows before the semester ended in December.

The home, which is located on Hwy. 70 in Rockcastle County, is the first group home to be opened by HOOD and will house up to eight males who have entered state custody for various reasons, said HOOD founder David C. Townsend.

Townsend said he spent more than 10 years in child protective services in Rockcastle County during his career in social work. He also served in the military and is now retired and has committed himself to giving back to the communities and kids he cares deeply about.

I placed a lot of kids in various areas of Kentucky that could have benefitted from being placed more locally during a difficult time in their lives, Townsend said. Its been my passion to build a group home in this area and give back.

Townsend and his wife Tammy, along with their combined family of five children, started the HOOD to empower and educate the youth and families being served by building self-esteem, self-image, and self-worth while increasing personal responsibility for actions and behavior, he said.

The couple purchased the land for the home and leased it at no cost to the non-profit organization. The home has been built through volunteers such as McQueen and his students as well as money raised through the groups Go Fund Me website, at, and by the work of 10-20 high school students enrolled in a mentoring program based at Madison Central High School.

These kids, along with my wife and I, have worked concessions at nearly every home University of Kentucky football game, Townsend said. They have worked ten to 12 hour days for this project and have raised more than $6,000.

Money from the UK football games and the Go Fund Me online account has been used to purchase the material for the house and the labor has been donated so far.

I want the community to know that we are running this non-profit like it should be, Townsend said. Once this project is off the ground, we will be reinvesting into the community to help at-risk kids.

Townsend said finding McQueen and the SCC students has been a blessing, but McQueen and his students argue that they have been the ones blessed through the process.

This is real life experience for these men, said McQueen, Construction Technology Professor based on the SCC Laurel Campus South. They've been out in extreme weather already and they are working hard to apply the construction skills they've been learning in class, but also to make a difference for the kids that will be living here.

I've really enjoyed this project, said SCC student Jeff Harbour, a retired military captain who now resides in Science Hill. I had a lot of military training and higher education, but when I came back I wanted to do something I loved. This class has been the best Ive ever had.

We are gaining experience you cant reproduce in the classroom, said Duston McNew, SCC student from London. Its different building on real projects and its nice to see it progress from start to finish and know you had a hand in it.

And knowing its for a great cause also helps motivate us, added Derrick Swanner, SCC student also from London.

Townsends organization is also working with the Eastern Kentucky University Social Work department for various intern opportunities and was awarded the community partner award recently from Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky.

The HOOD is governed by a board of directors, including George Martinez, a licensed psychological practitioner and associate professor of Psychology at SCC.

You simply cant put a value on the upbringing of a child, said Townsend of the project, which may lead to similar homes throughout Kentucky in the future. We are trying to give every child the help they need and provide opportunities so that they all have the support structure, love, guidance and acceptance they need to succeed in life.

To find out more about The HOOD, visit To find out more about the Construction Technology program at SCC, contact McQueen at (606) 878-4765 or

Photo (from left): Travis McQueen, professor of Construction Technology at SCC; Matthew Begley, London; Ernie Vasquez, Somerset; Jared Dozier, Corbin; John Noe, London; Samuel Moses, Williamsburg; Chris Clem, Wayne County; Duston McNew, London; Derrick Swanner, London; and HOOD founder David C. Townsend. Other students that have worked on the project but are not pictured include: : Joe Webb, London; Jackie Steele, London; Michael Calloway, London; Dustin Roberts, Lee County; Joshua Troxell, Pulaski County, Joseph Jones, and Stephen Combs, Clay County; Milford Case, Whitley County, and Austin House, London. North Laurel High School school students that have been working on the project include Matt Begley, Austin Hawk, Mikayla Nunley, CJ Burke, Dakota Smith, Shane Parker, and Noah Minton.