The work is done, and the LONG trip home is finally over. It’s time to reflect on and critique the time we spent in Baton Rouge. I can’t begin to thank each and every one of you for all the hard work you did on this trip. I feel that ALL of you went above and beyond on everything that was expected of you. Not only did you do excellent work, you presented yourselves as the true Christians that you are. When doing mission work we are looked at differently than other workers, and we are expected to act and perform at a different level. You not only met that level……….You exceeded it. You truly worked as the Hands and Feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m very proud of the work you performed, but I’m even more proud of who you are.
For me these disaster relief trips are a life changing experience, and I hope that you have felt that same experience. We have been so blessed with the lives we live that sometimes we can take it all for granted and forget that not everyone is as blessed as we are. I think that these trips wake us up to reality. While we were in Baton Rouge I’m sure all of you saw the thousands of businesses that were closed. This was caused not only because of the water damage they received, but because the community as a whole was so devastated that they could not afford to buy the products the businesses were selling. This created a domino effect. Now, not only have people lost their homes and belongings, they have also lost their jobs because the companies they worked for have gone out of business. How well do you think we would cope if faced with the same scenario? I would like to think we would be able to do the same thing they did, and that is place our faith in God knowing that He will not give us any burden that we can not handle. It was amazing to watch the congregation of True Light Baptist Church during their Sunday service. They rejoiced and praised with everything they had. I felt blessed and humbled to be a part of it, and I hope you did also.
To summarize what we accomplished in one short week:
Complete taping and mudding (3 coats) at both Delaware St. and Shelly St.
Installed dry wall in house and garage at Maple St.
Repaired electrical at Maple St.
Pulled down bathroom ceiling, installed new electrical, replaced ceiling and installed light and ceiling blower at Maple St.
Installed new dry wall at Sugar Bowl St.
Taped and mudded first coat at Sugar Bowl
Replaced almost entire electrical system on first floor of Michael Vick’s house
Installed dry wall on 80% of Michael Vick’s house
Repaired electrical problem at Pastor Chandler’s home.
Repaired electrical problem at Betty Holmes house.
That is an astronomical amount of work to be accomplished in only one week by only 17 volunteers. Although some of you are new to construction work I felt like I was a part of a well oiled machine. Not only was the work done fast, it was done right. My sincere thanks to all of you. You did it right, and there were no problems or complaints. Team leaders, you did an outstanding job, and are to be commended not only for you leadership, but also for your ability to make a hard job enjoyable and educational. I heard nothing but praises from the men that were on your teams. Well done!
On behalf of myself and the entire American Baptist Mens Disaster Relief program I want you to know how very much we appreciate your work and dedication. We know that volunteering requires considerable expense and loss of a weeks vacation. We hope that you feel that it was all worth the effort, and will consider joining us again on future trips. Thank you ALL again.
Keep LOOKING UP!!!
On January 8, 8 men from GRR Disaster Relief Teams, Everett Meister & Gordon Frobish from Area III, Don Rogers from Area IV, Mark Nelson from Area V and Richard Ruyle, Tim Johnson, George Labadie and Terry Maurizio from Area II, traveled to Baton Rouge to help with the installation of insulation and drywall in homes affected by the flooding of August 2016. We were joined by 4 men and 1 woman from West Virginia and 1 woman and 2 men from Indiana. The picture below shows the full team with members from True Light Baptist Church.
Our team from GRR was assigned the home of Donna Rogers to insulate and drywall. Pictured here are our team members with Donna and John, a Deacon from the church who delivered supplies to us.
Installing insulation and drywall in her home.
We then split up and Tim, George and I stayed at Donna’s home to finish the drywall while the rest of the team when to Donna’s mother’s home.
Following pictures of water mark and team working on this home.
Mark had knowledge of furnaces and was able to work on those in 2 homes and he got them working again. Here he is shown coming down from the attic of one home after working on furnace.
One evening we visited Geraldine Terry’s home. When the team of Richard Ruyle, George Labadie and myself went to Baton Rouge in November of 2016, we installed the insulation in her home. When the GRR Team led by Brian Romanowski went down a week later, they completed the drywall installation. The pictures below show the same room in her home in November and currently. The walls have been mudded, taped and painted and she is having flooring people come in this week.
On Thursday evening, the whole group went our to Parain’s Seafood Restaurant for supper. Vicky Goff, American Baptist Churhes National Volunteer Coordinator joined us and stayed over to work with us the next day.
On our way home, we drove through a winter wonderland of ice on the trees and grass but the road was clear.