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About Utah: Korvers go all out to assist needy

Published: Friday, May 28 2010 12:15 a.m. MDT

Kyle Korver's brother, Klayton, works on roof of a Salt Lake home for a family in need as Chris Govero, left, watches.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Sounding like a basketball coach assessing the talent on his team, Klayton Korver, younger brother of Utah Jazz sharpshooting guard Kyle Korver, says, "There are some things Kyle can't do."

He motions toward the roof he's just been fixing.

"For instance," he says, "We don't let him up there."

Not because Kyle couldn't nail in the shingles, but because that's not his role.

His role is to play ball in the NBA so they can fix the roof in the first place.

Plus, if the Jazz saw him up there they'd have a heart attack.

Klayton, 26, and something of a dead ringer for his brother — he may in fact look more like Ashton Kutcher than Kyle does — is taking a break from the roof. He's been working up there all morning, along with Brad Mepham, the project foreman, and workman Chris Govero. The three of them started Monday and should be finished by the end of the week — at which point the family that lives in the house on Salt Lake's west side can remove the buckets in the living room that were previously catching rainwater.

Then it will be on to another project, another roof, perhaps, or a bedroom remodel, or a storage shed, or, most likely, a wheelchair ramp.

The ramps have become the guys' specialty. They've constructed 21 of them in just the last year. All at the same price as every other job they do: absolutely free.

"It's surprised us how many people (in wheelchairs) are stuck in their homes, unless somebody comes and gets them," says Klayton Korver. "There's a real need for ramps."

The name of this traveling price-is-right construction outfit is the Seer Group, a division of the Kyle Korver Foundation.

The 29-year-old Korver started the charitable foundation seven years ago when he was drafted into the NBA out of Omaha's Creighton University. He first played in Philadelphia, where he started the Helping Hand Mission, an inner-city youth center for disadvantaged kids. He also earmarked part of his NBA earnings to plant a branch of the foundation in Omaha, assisting the Omaha Boys and Girls Club with helping underprivileged youths.

When he was traded to the Jazz three years ago, he kept the Philadelphia and Omaha enterprises going and started a third arm to the foundation right here in Salt Lake City — the Seer Group.

Klayton, a basketball star in his own right — he played at Drake in college and briefly turned pro until his surgically repaired knee talked him out of it — moved here two years ago to help Kyle run Seer. When the two of them met Brad Mepham playing softball, and discovered Brad was a building contractor, they decided their Utah charity would be construction-based.

Serving is a Korver family tradition.

When Kyle and Klayton were youngsters growing up in Paramount, Calif., an L.A. suburb that borders Compton, their grandfather Harold, a local pastor, and their father, Kevin, started Looking Good, a community cleanup project that was awarded a Beacon of Light award from President George H.W. Bush.

When the family moved to Pella, Iowa, where Kevin Korver became pastor of the Third Reformed Church, Kevin started the Just Do Good Foundation, which to this day provides all sorts of community service.

"When you're little, you want to be like your dad," says Klayton. "We want to be like our dad."

It's what has turned Kyle Kor?ver into a modern-day Robin Hood. He takes from the rich and gives to the poor — the rich being him.

"This is all fueled by Kyle's NBA success," says Klayton.

The Seer Group decides on its construction projects after receiving referrals from churches, other charities and individuals. (To suggest a project or become a contributor, go to kylekorverfoundation.com). One woman, Meg Johnson, has been a tremendous advocate for wheelchair-bound people needing ramps.

The decisions are based solely on need, after being screened by the foundation board (consisting of Kyle, his agent and his mom and dad). Although the Korvers are devout Christians, their enterprise is entirely non-denominational.

"Our faith is caught, it's not taught," says Klayton, picking up his hammer and heading back up on the roof. "We're not here to beat anyone over the head with a Bible. We're just here to show them Jesus love."

Lee Benson's column runs Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Please send e-mail to benson@desnews.com.

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