Saturday, February 27, 2010

Getting It Done

Yesterday, our volunteer group held a house blessing for the Cummings house. Mr. and Mrs. Cummings are currently in the hospital, but 3 of their children came to the house to participate.

With an altar made out of scaffolding and a cross built from scraps, the volunteers held a house blessing that was simple and beautiful. Pastor Bob gave a wonderful talk about cherishing our blessings and the house was blessed followed by the taking of communion.

Sometimes we need moments like that to put this work into perspective. Volunteers from around the country came together to help strangers, and it has made such an incredible difference in everyone's life.

The Cummings children were incredibly thankful for all of the volunteer efforts and offered a blessing back "100-fold."

TEDRD is so grateful to be able to work with our incredible and inspirational volunteers and homeowners. Thank you all!

Monday, February 22, 2010

If You Build It, They Will Come

We're moving along swimmingly in Galveston as our volunteers are doing some great work. We currently have a big group in from all across the country (Montana, Florida, New Jersey) who are really moving and getting some major work done at Ms. Cummings' house. They call themselves the Galveston Mudders.

We've got a steady flow of volunteers from now untill summer, barring a couple open weeks. If you are looking to come help out, let us know ASAP so we can find some space to fit you in.

Below are some pictures of some of our Disney Volunteers as well as the Mudders:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Volunteer Strong

TEDRD is going through one of our most successful stretches at the moment, with lots of volunteer help, and lots of work getting done. An Iowan CRWRC group has been here for the past week and will be here the rest of the week, trying to finish up a couple projects.

Also, we have another group called the Galveston Mudders or the "Over the Hill Group" as one member called them. This group led by Dave Reynolds and Brian Piggot will be here for the next 3 weeks! Its exciting to have such dedicated long term volunteers here, making an impact on homeowners' lives.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thanks, Zion

Members of Zion Lutheran Church of Fremont, Wisconsin has been down this week helping us repair homes.

We have loved their company and hard work. Their efforts in Galveston are greatly appreciated by everyone. Its such a blessing to meet and work with such amazing and selfless people on a daily basis.

Thanks again, Zion. We hope to see you again in the future!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mr. Rodgers

Saturday, I visited with one of our homeowners, Mr. Rodgers. He's 58-year-old and lost his left leg during the storm. As he explained it, Mr. Rodgers cut his toe a few days before Hurricane Ike hit, and when the water started to rise, his open wound became infected by the sewage other harmful substances floating around in the flood waters.

He survived the storm, but by the next day, his foot was black, then his calf and then up to his knee. He sat out on his front lawn, holding a sign that said he needed EMS, hoping a helicopter or passerby might help him. A cop came by at one point and said he would get help, but no one came.

Finally, a neighbor put Mr. Rodgers into his brand new cadillac as Mr. Rodgers protested about ruining the interior of his vehicle. "Your life is more important than this car," said the neighbor.

Terry was eventually placed in an ambulance that drove him to Dallas for a leg amputation. On the ride up, another injured man died right next to him. "I was thinking its not looking to good for me right now," he said.

After the amputation, Mr. Rodgers returned to Galveston in a wheelchair, unable to perform most of the tasks that he used to do as a master cabinetmaker. His home was destroyed, his business failing, his leg gone, and his wife was in a nursing home, suffering from alzheimer's.

But Mr. Rodgers pushed on, eventually got a prosthetic leg, and now walks pretty well. The doctors told him he probably would need to wait before using his new leg, but Mr. Rodger's stood up right there and walked out of the office. "I still have times when I stumble," he said. "I'll wake up in the morning, thinking I have 2 legs and fall right on my face."

When I commented that he was a very resilient man, Mr. Rodgers said, "Its not being resilient, I was just doing what I had to."

After more than a year of sitting in disrepair, we started working on Mr. Rodger's home last week, and we're excited to continue work. Its hard to imagine that horror stories like Mr. Rodgers' happen in America, but we hear them every day, and it's devastating.

When Maggie went to tell Mr. Rodgers we would be working on his home, he pulled out his wallet and told her he had no money to help the process. Maggie responded that he didn't need any because we would take care of it. Mr. Rodgers was overcome with emotion at the thought of his home being repaired for free

Many of our homeowners gave up any hope of normalcy months ago, but to see the hope return to the eyes of the hopeless is an incredible experience.

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