University of Illinois Springfield freshman Jon Welton enjoys helping people. The Criminology and Criminal Justice major is a member of the Leadership for Life Service Organization on campus and is a private first class in the Illinois Army National Guard.
Welton recently traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a group of 25 other UIS students to help clean up homes that were damaged by flooding. The students stripped homes down to the studs, so they could dry out, and removed personal belongings damaged by the flood.
“Basically you take everything out and it gives them a better chance of being able to rebuild, rather than having to completely destroy everything,” said Welton.
Welton and the group of UIS volunteers were able to meet the homeowner they were helping, which he calls a gratifying experience.
“He was very grateful that we were there,” said Welton. “He even bought us lunch one day. You’re carrying out this guy’s life pretty much.”
The students worked as a team to clean and clear the house of debris during the three day trip.
“They all came together as a group and really toughed it out,” said Welton. “I feel like that’s part of being a leader, is even when it got hard they kept going.”
Following graduation, Welton plans to become a police officer. He says his experiences at UIS are helping to prepare him for the job.
“I believe in Criminal Justice, specifically with the job I want to do as a patrol officer, helping people is everything. That is your job. I’m getting to practice those skills,” he said.