Bill had his last day on the job, a sad goodbye. Thanks, Maria, for letting him join us, now he has the skill to do your house.
Barry Copp writing here-I’ve been coerced into contributing to the blog!! I am sitting in the meeting/dining “auditorium” belonging to the Beauvoir Methodist church here in Biloxi, taken over by Hands On Gulf Coast after a delicious dinner or mixed veggies and chicken over rice and white noodles. It was really well prepared, as are the majority of meals here. One certainly doesn’t go hungry. The level of energy and enthusiasm of the age 20 something folks who mainly run the place is the same as I experienced last March. There are about a half dozen of the folks I remember from before-they are called “long timers”.
More building is starting to happen and gutting is much less a primary activity although at the usual evening meeting one group reported that they just helped a family move out who had been living all this time with no electricity and moldy walls. This particular house is one of the first of about 70 that HandsOn is planning to rehab/rebuild, not unlike our Bridge To Biloxi experience with Cynthia and Dan’s house in East Biloxi.
Bob Downing and I arrived late Monday evening and have now put in two full days working at the house along with several assorted others each day. There is a young man from HandsOn who has building credentials who has been out daily helping to coordinate plumbers and electricians and work with our fearless leader David Kramer to decide what’s next to do. David has all the skills and we have been blessed by some very skilled volunteers as Ralphy, Jim, Del, Bill, and various others for a day or so. Brittany has joined our long term crew and is a willing learner.
The house itself is one story, 75 feet long and I’d say about 25 feet wide and had floated off its foundation. It was built with rough cut lumber, some of it very warped already and in putting it back on piers some twisting had occurred. A lot of work has been put into shimming walls and installing hurricane ties that are now required as well as building new interior walls. It’s good problem solving work to do and bit by bit we are getting ready for the sheet rock which hopefully will go smoothly because of the patient work being done now.
Jim, were your ears burning about 4:00 today? David almost knocked out a big window frame in the front room that hadn’t been secured!! Oh well, we have all made our boo boos! Cynthia has been very gracious, greeting everyone with a hug in the morning and supplying us with coffee and cold drinks as well as snacks. It will be a real nice house when it’s finished and David says we are ahead of schedule. Sorry I can’t stay longer than a week but I know there are thousands(?) of volunteers lined up behind me that will take the project to the next plateau. It is a terrific experience to be here helping and locals here 14 months after Katrina are still thanking us for being here. A man overhearing us at lunch today at a newly opened Vietnamese restaurant engaged Bob in conversation as we were leaving and thanked him/us. There is so much to be done but it is looking better and you would all be proud of the amazing people who are here giving of their time and labor.