JSU students aid elderly couple with house demolition

JSU students Breandan Lumpkin and Brandon Phillips help clear debris from a house demolition for Fred and Mary Bundrum.

Anita Kilgore

College students are often unfairly stereotyped, explained Mary Bundrum, who found help recently from Jacksonville State University fraternity members who took time to notice she needed it.

Bundrum and her husband, Fred - both 75 - decided to tear down Fred’s grandparents old home on Mountain Street in Jacksonville. It was badly damaged by termites and they wanted to clean up the area, known as the flats.

House demolition is hard work at any age but the Bundrums went at it with hammers and a tractor regardless, Bundrum said.

The Bundrums had already gotten much of the work done when Breandan Lumpkin, a member of the Tau Delta Phi fraternity at JSU was skating by the home on his way to class and noticed the 75-year-olds hard at work.

“It didn’t seem right, this 70-something year old couple has to do the demolition themselves,” Lumpkin said, “So I called a few of my brothers and asked them what they thought about it, and they said they were down for it.”

Lumpkin and several of his fraternity brothers started working alongside the Bundrums on Wednesday, tearing out the remaining foundation and removing debris. They were to do so again on Monday, helping the couple clean up what remains.

“Dozens and dozens of people have come by and gotten lumber,” Bundrum said, speaking of people who asked to take away salvageable lumber from the site, but only one other man, himself in his 70s, offered to help for the free lumber. When Lumpkin stopped and offered to help without charge it was a blessing Bundrum explained.

“And they worked. I mean they worked hard,” Bundrum said.

Fred Bundrum was born and raised on the property, which also includes the home in which the couple now live. The two have been married for 35 years, Bundrum said, and other than the occasional bad driver, living near so many college students has been just fine.

Lumpkin is double majoring in psychology and economics, and when he isn’t studying he teaches gymnastics. Asked if the extra work helping the Bundrum’s was exhausting, Lumpkin said he’d be “exhausted regardless of what I do” and helping the couple is worth the added work.

“They’ve just been wonderful. I can’t praise them enough,’ Bundrum said.