Marching Virginians team with Town of Blacksburg, Community Housing Partners to build house in honor of Ryan Clark

BLACKSBURG, Va., May 8, 2009 – Virginia Tech's Marching Virginians, The Town of Blacksburg, and the Community Housing Partners will be teaming up to build a home for a family in Blacksburg. The house will be built in memory of former Marching Virginians band member, Ryan Clark, who was lost on April 16, 2007.

The house will be built throughout the month of May and dedicated in Clark’s honor on June 20.

“It is with incredible enthusiasm that the Marching Virginians will tackle this challenge in the next two months,” said Band Director Dave McKee.

The Town of Blacksburg and Community Housing Partners, a regional non-profit housing and community development corporation, will provide the funds, supplies, labor and technical expertise needed to construct the house. Community Housing Partners will provide a parcel of land on Cedar Hill Drive, where the eco-friendly home will be built. The organization will also be coordinating construction and arranging the financing for the project.

“CHP is happy to help the Marching Virginians’ create a lasting tribute to Ryan with a home that reflects the spirit of community partnership and environmental stewardship,” said Community Housing Partners President and CEO Janaka Casper.

The Town of Blacksburg will provide the funding for this project from its Community Development Block Grant Program and from the New River Valley HOME Consortium, as well as providing logistical support and special construction inspections.

With a task force of three hundred and fifty people, the Marching Virginians will contribute a significant amount of the labor necessary for the construction of the house. Those not skilled in house building will help with other tasks such as painting, taking pictures, lunch provisions, and yard work.

This house holds a special meaning for The Marching Virginians. Clark was a dedicated student, musician, and friend to many of the members of the band. He volunteered with projects like Hurricane Katrina relief and Habitat for Humanity. It is in the spirit of continuing his compassion and charity that the Marching Virginians take on this project, said McKee.

Since announcing their plans to undertake a project of this magnitude at the end of the fall 2008 season, The Marching Virginians have received much support from the community, faculty, and students of Virginia Tech. Through monetary donations from friends, family, community members, and Virginia Tech faculty, the Marching Virginians raised over $41,000 for this project.

The Marching Virginians have participated in numerous service projects throughout their 35 years of existence. These projects include collecting canned foods for Hokies for the Hungry, playing for numerous elementary school spirit nights, travelling to New Orleans to help with Hurricane Katrina relief, playing for fallen Hokies and their families, and providing a fun-filled spirited atmosphere at football games.

Watch the related video: "Virginia Tech: Building a memory" on the Virginia Tech YouTube channel.