Monday, September 17, 2007

Great Weekend Warrior News and a return to NOLA Volunteer Work - 9/15/07

There's great news from the Weekend Warrior team. They've committed themselves to completing Augusta's house in Violet and having her in by Christmas. This was shared in one of Michael's Sept. 5 email's:

"Please also note that Jim, Nancy & Karen have asked us all to commit to working toward getting Augusta B. out of her FEMA trailer and into her house in Violet, LA by Christmas. She has received her electrical inspection permit to close up her walls, and was working this last weekend to insulate the walls. I'm guessing that she'll at least need help installing and floating drywall, painting, as well as installing appliances and cabinets."

I believe that this decision was made at the August 25 UU Katrina remembrance dinner, and there was no delay in the team getting in there to do the work soon thereafter. :D

Here's an update from Michael's Sept.10 email about the progress:

"Hello all! - David E., Todd R., Jim Casper and I had a great weekend working at Augusta Butler's house. With the help of "Reese", the ceiling drywall lift that Reese Brewer loaned us, we were able to install ceiling drywall in three rooms. Jim's plan is to have the at least the rest of the kitchen and maybe the bathroom done next weekend, so that cabinet work can be started in those rooms. We got to drive around the neighborhood, and Augusta was real pleased that her neighborhood is really coming back."

All of this came on the tails of the Sacred Space church service in which I was so moved to request a special "pregnant Warrior" assignment from Michael. He took me up on that and included this in his Sept.10 email:

"Recruitment Inducement: Irene Kato is interested in tagging along to help, take pictures and give massages!!!!" Lots of laughs. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to use the word inducement with a pregnant Warrior, but his listing is so much appreciated. I've felt off the past 6 months not heading in for the work that continued, and the extra encouragement kept me planning on a return.

The Return

Saturday, Sept.15 I drove in with my daughter to visit Augusta and the team at the house. It was SO great to see Jeannie, Karen, and Nancy working with Augusta, and just to be in the space again.

We entered the house to see the floors completely stripped and clean, the insulation in, new windows installed, and the ceilings in the living room, dining and kitchen areas. Even the feel outside was improved as the yard is much more tame without debris and the overgrown weeds. There was even a new wooden fence lining the back yard installed by the neighbors after Karen and Nancy put in the posts. I noticed too that the recovered wind chimes were still up on the side trellis from six months ago. :) Take a look back at 6 and 7 months ago for a comparison and see the progress.
New Orleans 7
New Orleans 8

The team took a lunch break with us soon after our arrival giving us a bit of rebonding time. We shared food and chatted it up, and of course laughed too. That power crew is so friendly and open that it's tough not to feel at 'home again' with them. Even though I wasn't there to get my hands dirty, I felt the connection once again to Augusta and the work being done to get her back into the house.

Following lunch they kicked right back into the work on installing the dry wall in the kitchen area. I was very impressed by their team work of measuring, cutting, and attaching the pieces to the wall frame giving the open area definition. Grace got to help out too by handing over screws when needed and picking up the cut pieces of dry wall. They worked so well with her when she wanted to get involved and I greatly appreciate that. She really felt part of things, and even reported her work done when we arrived home. :)

The grand finale of our visit came when the final piece of one of the kitchen walls was installed. We stopped to document the historical moment as it was the first completed wall in the house.

Hopefully these images share the determination, commitment, accomplishments, and togetherness shared by the team that afternoon. I really applaud Jeannie, Karen, Nancy and Augusta for all of the work done, and all of the previous work accomplished by the Weekend Warrior teams to keep things moving. As usual, the visit left its mark on me, and I do plan on returning to record the continued progress and cheer them on. Actually, it's better to say that Augusta's positive spirit and the team make a lasting impression to continue.

The goal of completing the house by Christmas so Augusta can be out of her trailer is a big one, but it is very, very doable. When I shared an update of the work in church on Sunday as well as the images on my laptop, a number of people wanted to know what they could do to get involved and help. Some feel they aren't able to contribute to the work now, but are ready to pick up a paintbrush or help with the floors when the time comes. Thank you for this, and I'll do my best to keep others informed about what they can do.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home