Thursday, June 14, 2012

Team Asbury heads to Sayre, PA

Team Asbury heading to Sayre, PA

“Team Asbury” – flood relief in action

“Team Asbury” left the church parking lot at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, June 10, 2012 to head to Sayre, PA to help with flood relief due to the Susquehanna River overflowing its banks.

Those traveling were team leaders, Ken & Julie Davis.  First timers were Sheryl Fresch, Mark Mancos and two youth – Ellis Giacomelli and Samie Cox.  Others on the team who have accompanied Ken & Julie on other disaster relief trips were Rich Giacomelli, Joel Cook and Rachel Cook. 

We arrived four hours later to a house owned by the Ukrainian church.  The girls/women are in a room with seven beds and the men are in rooms with four beds.  After a good night’s sleep (90 degree temps) the men were up at 5:00 a.m., waiting to start their day, and not being able to sleep because of the heat.

Meeting with the UMCOR Director, Jerry, he gave us our assignments for the next few days.  Things are in such a disarray at the houses we were assigned to.  Words that come to mind are excited, anxious overwhelmed and sadness.

Day One  we were split up between two houses.  One house was owned by Roxanne whose house was at the state of touching up of paint around receptacles, putting fans together, mudding and sanding, removing and replacing receptacles.  Each room in this house was a different color ranging from hot pink to orange, to purple and green!  Two of our girls were putting a fan together and one happened to drop a screw into the fan motor!  OOPS!  No shaking or turning would release that screw so they had to finally have someone with a magnet get it out.

How many Methodists does it take to install a recessed light?  At least four women and one man tried for about three hours and we had to have someone who knew a little more about recessed lighting (Ken) come in and fix it.  Took him 20 minutes while we all struggled for about three hours.   I know some of the group are saying they don’t know how to do something, but they all have willing hearts and want to learn.  We are not perfect, but we are trying as we love to serve and learn.  We worked really hard and I know there will be a few stiff bones in the morning.

The other house was owned by Chris and Chopper.  Drywall had to be ripped out (do-over by another group), new dry wall, taping and floating.  The youth got a lesson from Ken on how to tape and float.  They are fast learners.  Sanding will be next and then floating and sanding to a smooth surface.  Needless to say, the group was exhausted, but we did watch a movie “Kate and Leopold” before we all called it a night.

The men weren’t the early risers on Day two.  We were all assigned to the same houses on day two.  Roxanne came to meet us today and gave us a hug and called us her “house angels” – what a beautiful thing to say. 

Our dasy consists of working, eating, sleeping, showering, sharing our day with the group and a devotional time before going to bed.

Day three was an exceptional day.  A lot of taping and floating and those that did not know how to use power tools learned…nailers, saws, scorers…and learned how to lay tile, luann board…so exceptional that we had one of our youth so exhausted she went to bed at 6:00 p.m. and did not rise until the next morning at 7:00 a.m.

Most nights we have gone back to our work sites after dinner and worked for a couple of more hours, trying to finish what we had started that day.

Some comments have are they wonder how can these people get through this devastation – they have lost everything!  I honestly can say that I have been through this – Hurricane Agnes in 1972 came to Wilkes-Barre, PA and nearly destroyed the town.  The dike broke at the cemetery and brought up bodies and such disease was prevalent.  Shots were administered to protect us and the stench prior to the clean-up is one that will never leave your memory.

Day four continues what we have been doing.  We originally were told we would be painting.  That has not happened yet.  We continue with the taping, floating, sanding, nailing luann, etc., etc., etc.

I continue to be the "go-fer" and chief cook and bottle washer.  One of the girls said she didn't think she lost any weight this week.  They all work so hard, I want to make sure they are well fed.

Friday our day ends in the afternoon.  It is bittersweet to say goodbye to all we have started and cannot finish and trust that the next team will be as enthusiastic and energetic as our group has been through this week.

Keep posted for more updates in July.

Ellis protecting herself from sanding the drywall mud

Samie prepared for the dust
Rachel ready to sand
Rich eager to start

Fellowshipping with Jerry, our Disaster Recovery "boss"
Joel "pretending" he has his mask on

Julie's sit down job
Even the "boss" (Ken) lends a hand
Roxanne (owner) with Sheryl, Ellis & Mark
Sheryl "laying" tile
Mark & Sheryl hanging one of the fans in Roxanne's home


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