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Sweat Equity, Dividend Paid

Loren Roberts (left) and Jeff Sluman spruce up a Habitat for Humanity House prior to the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Habitat for Humanity

April 5, 2011

By Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff

BILOXI, Miss.—Although Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast nearly six years ago and became the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, the area still faces rebuilding efforts. Hundreds of Gulf Coast residents lost their homes in the wake of the hurricane, including Larry and Sue Kostmayer of Biloxi.

More than five years after the storm hit, the Kostmayers were finally able to get their lives back together, thanks to the work and efforts of the Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The group has built or is building 400 homes in the region, including the Kostmayers’ new residence.

Although the Kostmayers moved into their new home in early 2011, the landscaping on the property was never completed. All that changed March 31 when Champions Tour players Loren Roberts and Jeff Sluman joined forces with local community volunteers who helped put the finishing touches on the Kostmayers’ home.

“The whole basis for the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour is giving back to charity,” said Loren Roberts. “We raise charitable dollars every week. Most of the players on the Tour have charitable organizations in their own communities.”

It marked the second consecutive year members of the Champions Tour had pitched in on one of the Habitat for Humanity’s projects. Last year, Fred Funk and his family, along with Dan Forsman, provided landscaping assistance at the Connor's Garden subdivision in Gulfport. That area has seen the construction of more than 40 Habitat for Humanity-built homes.

For an avid golfer like Larry Kostmayer, the opportunity to meet and work with Roberts and Sluman was a huge thrill in itself.

“It’s unbelievable they were at my house,” Kostmayer said. “I feel good about them being here and appreciate them taking the time to help out on the project.”

As for Sluman, the former PGA Championship winner, he saved his praise for the Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the other volunteers.

“It’s fantastic to see what Americans are willing to do for other Americans. We’re proud to just come out here and help, but it’s all about the volunteers. They deserve all the applause.”


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