From the framing stages of the house where we had to replace practically every piece of wood to the last days of touching up paint on patches of dry wall, the crews of dedicated volunteers cycled through Ethel's. Brian, Quincy, John Wildeman, Robyn, Marj, and Brannon are among the many who lent their particular skills to turning a gutted skeleton of a building into a warm, inviting home.
The day of the move in was a typically warm day in Southern Mississippi, sun shining and dark clouds amassing on the horizon. No worries, though, inside the house it is cozy and spacious, fully furnished. Waiting for friends and family to fill it up.
Guiding Light cast members Beth Chamberlin and Rob Bogue were on hand to walk Ms. Ethel through her house while Jan Conklin and Janet filmed it. Beth and Rob both remembered that Ms. Ethel said she used to always have a pot of coffee on for folks who dropped in for a visit. When Ms. Ethel walked through her kitchen, they pointed out the coffee maker, just waiting for Ms. Ethel to turn it on. Personally, I think Rob just wanted some coffee ;)
We celebrate when each of the residents we helped move into their homes. Sometimes the celebrations are big, sometimes small. Regardless of how many folks we have come celebrate, it's always emotional. I think seeing Ms. Ethel move in was particularly special for us because we've been at her house for so long, making sure everything was perfect for her and the boys.
Eddie, Sheli, and Brian were just as overcome with emotion as Ms. Ethel. Anyone who has come down and worked on one of our building projects knows that there's a deep bond that forms between the crews and the home owners who live in their FEMA trailers nearby. It's not just anyone we're putting into their home, this was Ms. Ethel.
I was happy to be there to share the moment. Being in an administrative role means I don't get out to see all the great work our volunteers and AmeriCorps members do each day. These special occassions serve to allow me to connect with them, their work, and the residents of Biloxi.
Ms. Ethel, I hope that's a great coffee maker because I think you're going to have a steady stream of Hands On folks stopping by for that ever-full pot-o'-coffee.
:: Chris ::