Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mr. George's Celebration

I'm sure Luc will write about Mr. George, too. That's great, and he should. He, along with countless other volunteers put tons of work into the house to turn what was a gutted, broken husk of a house, into Mr. George's new home. Though there's still a bit more work to be done - connecting the gas, putting on gutters, and a few HVAC finishing touches - the house is pretty much done. After 18 or so months of sitting next to his house, Mr. George is almost ready to move in.

This is really our first house. Yes, if you've read our blogs, you'll know that we worked on the Thornton's house, we finished Cynthia's house with Bridge to Biloxi, and we've been working on three houses sponsored by Guiding Light.

Mr. George's house is different. It has our blood, sweat, and tears - literally. I'm sure someone got a scratch somewhere that lead to the blood; the sweat and tears were more obvious. Hands On took Mr. George on as a case almost a year ago. He had few funds to rebuild, so we did what we could when we could. We gutted, demolded, put on part of a new roof, then slowly, slowly started the process of reframing, hanging the sheetrock, painting, installing cabinets, laying floors, and managing the subcontract labor. Along the way, there were real bumps in the road that made us all wonder whether we'd get Mr. George back into his house.

Through it all, tenacious folks like Sheli - the case manager - and big hearted people like Mike Grote, Donnie Fulton, Brian Deubert, Luc Lamarche, and Eddie Sherman all poured what they could into Mr. George's house.

The house is beautiful to behold. Each member of our construction crew had a hand in it. I won't be able to mention everyone, but I'll try to get the list right: Yvon on painting; Brannon and Amanda with drywall; Marj as all around get-'er-done girl; Michelle and Doug with trimming and other odd jobs; Russian Mike with fine carpentry; Robyn with the sublime (thanks Woody) floors ... Other folks, not around as long, but crucial to the final stages of completion included Charlie, Marshall, Kenny, and countless others whose names I can't place.

I'm proud of what our team work has accomplished. Everything from Sheli's tireless case management of donations, grants, and funds, to the worker's tireless devotion to detail and care for Mr. George. The completion of the house is a true testament to team work, compassion, and the transformational power of service to those in need.


Last night, we welcomed Mr. George home, even though there's more work to do. Most of Hands On turned out to show our support. Tony fried up some fish, barbeque'd chicken and dogs, and generally cooked up a ton of food for us all. Fantastic!! Felix, the HVAC/Electrician even made it out.

What a way to cap the first week of Spring Break.

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