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Sluman, Roberts Share Role in Seeding New-Home Dreams

Loren Roberts (far left) and Jeff Sluman (second from right) presented Larry and Sue Kostmayer with some Champions Tour memorabilia that they can display in their home.
Rick Sharp

March 23, 2012

By Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

BILOXI, Miss.—The plants in front of the dark-gray house with white trim on Iroquois Avenue are almost two feet taller now, a growing symbol of what can happen when one of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s leading charitable organizations partners with the human spirit for the common good.

On March 21, a Habitat for Humanity home and its proud owners, Larry and Sue Kostmayer, saw two familiar faces, Jeff Sluman and Loren Roberts, who stopped by for a visit. Roberts, last week’s winner at the Toshiba Classic, and Sluman were just keeping a promise they had made to the couple almost a year ago when they served as landscape volunteers on the newly constructed home in an old neighborhood here. With bushes and shrubs in hand, these two Champions Tour players spent the day helping the distressed couple and vowed to return to the house in 2012 and check in on the family and the house’s progress. 

Habitat for Humanity is the charitable beneficiary of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. In the first two years of the event, it has raised more than $50,000 to support this organization dedicated to providing sustainable housing solutions. Habitat for Humanity empowers all members of the community to actively participate in creating opportunity for people to transform their own lives. 

“The PGA TOUR is about giving back to the community,” said Sluman. “It is terrific to look at Larry and Sue and their house and the (flowering) bushes I helped to plant last year.”

Like many in the Gulf Coast region, the Kostmayers lost everything to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. After the devastation that left them with nothing, they were forced to move into a mobile home. The couple came to Habitat for Humanity and enrolled in the organization’s home-ownership program in September 2009, a curriculum that includes “sweat equity,” which requires financial counseling, training and 200 hours of actual work on another Habitat for Humanity home. Then, on March 31, 2011, thanks to Habitat for Humanity, the Kostmayers moved into their own new house, one of more than 480 recently constructed residences in the area since 2007. 

“We are so thankful to the PGA TOUR and the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic for helping Habitat for Humanity,” said Sue Kostmayer, a retired hospitality worker in local casinos. “Habitat for Humanity brought us back home.”

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