Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hitting the wall

Each morning at 7:30, our work camp group gathers with others from Eagle River, Illinois and Connecticut for morning briefing with Leah Lyman, the volunteer coordinator; Craig, the construction supervisor, and Don Morgan, who oversees the whole volunteer effort. This morning, the room was extraordinarily quiet as people dragged themselves in. The pace of the work was taking its toll.

That's the way it went all day long. At the work sites, lots got done, but the bodies moved at a more sluggish pace. Numerous folks were at new work sites. The painting job at one house where Denise, Mary and Linda had been working was done. The huge project in Gulfport was scaled back, so John H, John Van O and Jim were free agents this morning. The three of them along with Mary and Linda went to work at a new site where the focus is on the renonvation of the interior of the house. Lots of painting of doors going on there. Denise helped out at the Loaves and Fishes noon meal program and also worked with the group from St. Charles, Ill. at their work site. Howard, David and I continued at the house we have been working on all week, with Howard taking a lead role in putting in new windows -- a major feat of creative engineering. (See pictures above.) The windows are in straight, but the house is crooked, so the windows look a bit odd from the outside. We won't get all the windows done on Friday, but we've made significant progress on that house.

As we settled in for the night (interrupted briefly when we turned on the heat, only to have all the smoke alarms start blaring), folks were reflecting back on the week. It was Howard to articulated something many of us had noticed -- no end to the number of times people would say thank you to us. Sure, the homeowners said thanks, but so did the folks in the hardware stores and at the restaurants and anywhere else we stopped in the Biloxi area. These folks are struggling to bring their communities into the future against great odds and they sure are glad some people from around the country are at their sides week after week.

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