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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
April 21, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

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Gary Bott, Carpenter, Physical Plant and Planning



When Gary Bott isn’t fixing bulkheads, constructing cabinets or helping with any other carpentry projects on campus, he is using his skills to build homes and schools for people in developing countries.

Bott, who has been a carpenter at Wilfrid Laurier University for 18 years, went to Grenada on his first volunteer trip, where he helped to build a youth camp. He built homes in El Salvador after the earthquake in 2000, and has been to Ecuador seven times for a variety of builds. His 12-year-old son (he also has a 10-year-old daughter) and parents have accompanied him on some of his trips.

“We’ve built additions on schools, camps for underprivileged kids and workshops so the people can build furniture to sell. We’re building a future for them. You can see how you’re fulfilling people’s needs immediately.”

Of all of his volunteer experiences, there is one memory that stands out in particular.

“There was this one little boy in Ecuador who just clung to me. He grabbed my hand and came to the site and stayed with me all day. The next year he came right over and did the same thing. The last time I was there, I didn’t see him, but you learn not to ask questions. Then he showed up on the last day. There was just a connection there.”

When Bott isn’t volunteering abroad, he is active in the Laurier community. He has served on union committees, been the staff representative on the board of governors and sub-committees, and volunteers for the Laurier’s mens’ and womens’ hockey teams. He also plays on three different baseball teams, including Laurier’s intramural team for the past 15 years.

“I love absolutely everything about Laurier.”