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Oklahoma Disaster Relief, Day Three

Today was our final day and we wanted to get as much done as possible. So after breakfast once again at Tiffany’s Restaurant we got to the work site an hour earlier than yesterday. We had already packed up everything at the Noble United Methodist Church with a plan to return and shower and then load up.

It was hot, but fortunately we had a wonderful breeze coming in and good fans. We were back at insulation and sheet rock. My job would be finishing mudding one room and do as much taping and mudding in the small bathroom and the room Rusty, Andrew and Dave were finishing up.

Rusty, Dave and Andrew went immediately to work on the room that had been started yesterday. They had to finish insulating the ceiling and then sheet rock the ceiling and the rest of the walls.

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And occasionally they had to use their heads!

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Rusty kept plugging away in tight places!

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Pat began working cleaning up some of the debris! Vacuuming and sweeping.

And me? Well, I am your “mudder”

Around 10:30 Hal came in and said to me, the heat index will hit 110, we are done at noon. I am getting those kids off the roof and you are done as well. So we worked at finishing what we could. All the sheet rock got in (except for the lower pieces in the small bathroom which was still drying. Here is the final piece going in

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I finished the ceiling off the garage, taped some and then mudded in the bathroom, mudded what I could reach where the guys were working. We were finished with what we could do by 11:30. Here is what we finished:

Tired and hot we were toast! We said good bye to Hal, and he invited us back. While there may not be a lot of these projects left, wildfires have hit western Oklahoma and there may be work there. Of course, there may be plenty to do in Eureka as well.

The AmeriCorps workers were there an hour before we were. They have been roofing in Noble for several days and have a lost a day due to rain. Their plan is to finish the roof before they have to leave on July 4. They were good about taking breaks down off the roof and drinking plenty of water. This young man had dumped a load of material that had come down form the roof and took a quick break in the wheel barrel. It was much cooler in the shade!!!

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The roof has been covered with FEMA blue tarps for a very long time. Remember that this is work still being done comes from the storms of 2015. Once they are done, another crew in coming in this weekend to finish up what we did not AND to sheet rock inside the house all the ceilings that have been water damaged. I still can not get my mind around being in a home for three years and because of lack of resources, waiting and waiting for help in recovery from devastating storms. One of the many reasons I support United Methodist Committee on Relief is because they remain after others leave. As Hal’s shirt points out:

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We obviously are not staying until it is “complete” but what a blessing to be part of the recovery and the movement toward completion. This is my second time working with the UM Disaster Response from Oklahoma. I think EVERY annual conference should come and learn from them. Their web site is filled with projects all the the volunteers and supervisors are caring, helpful and make people like me who are not all THAT handy feel like we have something to offer. Their system works and what a gift it would be to the United Methodist Church everywhere if they could learn from these people. A big shout out and thanks to Hal Wright, I would work with him any day of the week, all week long.

I won’t bore you with pictures from our lunch although I will say Kendall’s was excellent! A short three hour drive back to Wichita and we are now all at home. I can not say enough about Dave Glover’s leadership. He made the trip flow smoothly and he always reminded us “patience and flexibility!!!” I am grateful to have spent time with Rusty and Pat Allensworth. As always, I am in awe of Andrew Stover and not just because I am married to him. I am amazed by his knowledge, his ability to problem solve and work with what is at hand and build and repair and fix and measure and cut and work hand in hand with others.

What a blessing it is to be part of such a great team. Tonight, I am sore, tired and happy. God is at work in the world in marvelous and wonderful ways.

 

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Oklahoma Disaster Relief, Day Two

Day two began with breakfast at Tiffany’s…..Literally!

 

The breakfast was fresh and tasty (I had an avocado, bacon and jack cheese omelet). From there we were back to the work site to continue the projects we had started. The AmeriCorps were already on the roof working hard.

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We went right to work on the projects we had left unfinished yesterday. Sheet rocking the main room off the garage and began the demolition in the laundry room.

 

There was also a small bathroom that needed insulation and sheet rock.

Then it was time for lunch! Hal Wright invited us to come to his home and eat lunch outside. It was a lovely break.

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BACK TO WORK!!! More sheet rock. Pat and Rusty worked hard and finished sheet rocking the laundry room.

Andrew and Dave began to sheet rock the small bathroom when there was an “oops.” There was a small water leak around the old water heater. Andrew and Dave were carrying sheetrock when Andrew stepping back knocked the pipe loose. And water went every where, including all over him!

Once the water was cleaned up, they finished sheet rocking what they could until the rest of the floor dried up.

I did some work vacuuming up lots of water, helped with some clean up until Hal got me taping and mudding the sheet rock on the ceiling. Pat began taping and mudding the laundry room.

I was pretty well covered in mud. According to Hal it is just “like one of those mud baths!!!” Not sure that is true as I am VERY sore from climbing up and down the ladder and the drywall bench.

We were so grateful to the Oklahoma UMC Volunteer in Mission Disaster Relief for providing us for a shower trailer. The showers were hot and perfect!

So we showered, relaxed, went out to eat and came back to play one game of Farkle. Rusty won!!! While playing our phones notified us of the tornado in Eureka, Kansas. The e-mail has already gone out for those who are ERT trained to be prepared to go help with clean-up. My prayers are being raised for those in the path of all those storms, and for those already deployed to Eureka.

We know from our work here in Oklahoma that there are opportunities to serve and make a difference in the lives of others. It is a privilege and honor and to be here, to work until we are bone tired and to know that God is here in the midst of the recovery.

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Oklahoma Disaster Relief, Day One

It is hard to believe that there is still work to be done following the 2015 storms in Oklahoma. The last time I was here was in March of 2016 and we were working on homes that had been torn apart in May of 2015. The same supervisory crew is still working with volunteers to fix homes that was damaged three years ago.

This is why I LOVE United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR stays until the work is done. Other agencies are long gone. The homes I have worked on  are those homes that do not have other means in which to repair the devastating damage done by wind and rain and hail.

While it is true that there have been other hurricanes and floods and wildfires and tornadoes and windstorms since 2015, the decision to continue to work when the focus is elsewhere speaks to a strength of faith and commitment that I deeply respect. I am so glad to be working again with Hal Wright as our project manager. Hal is all the right combination of hard work, humor, and hands on instruction.

We started out early this morning. Three are from West Heights UMC: Dave Glover our team leader, Rusty Allensworth and Pat Allensworth. Andrew Stover and I are from First UMC.

36087343_10156756004689274_7775680179329826816_nWe had planned on unloading at the church once we were in Noble, Oklahoma but a communications miscue meant the church wasn’t open yet. So it was off to an early lunch at Rudy’s BBQ.

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Once lunch was done we unloaded at the Noble United Methodist Church

When we got to the home where we would be working, Hal was ready to put us to work. First up was insulation! I had forgotten how gritty, dusty and uncomfortable it can be to work with  particularly on a hot and muggy day.

After beginning to put up the insulation, it didn’t take long for us to think…..MASKS!!!

Once the insulation was up, then came time to begin to put up the sheet rock. Thank God for sheet rock lifts!!!

Works really slick!!! And so much fun cranking it!

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To the hard work or screwing in each piece!

We didn’t get the whole ceiling done. Hal called it a day at 4:00 p.m. He said he didn’t want to wear us out, plus the AmeriCorps workers would be there at 7:00 a.m. to begin roofing. So it was back to the Noble UMC for showers and out to dinner. They have a”nifty” shower trailer, I’ll post pictures tomorrow.

We ended the evening with a little competitive game of Five Crowns.

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Andrew beat us all badly on the first round. I squeaked by on the second. Now it is off to sleep before we begin again tomorrow. What an honor it is to serve and work alongside these great people!

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