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Fort Myers, FL – Weekly Report – Dec 31-Jan 11, 2019

January 17, 2019

We’re baaaack!  Phil and Kathleen arrived January 1.   On January 2 and 3, Neal, Casey and Russell, Jesse, and Gordon and Maria arrived.   Neal, Gordon and Maria are from Manitoba, ready to enjoy the sun and warm weather. Casey and Russell drove in from Virginia, and Phil and Kathleen are, of course, from the Mitten State (Michigan). Jesse is from Pennsylvania and doing a year-long stint with MDS.

Our first week, with long term volunteers only, started with getting camp back up and running. We are again working out of Riverside Camp and Retreat Center. We are so excited that they would welcome us back and let us (practically) take over the park!  To start, we moved two of the LT RVs to storage and got Hope House bedrooms set up for long term volunteers. We also spent a couple days working on the Coe house.

Our first week of short term volunteers came from Pennsylvania and Iowa. We had worked with most of these Pennsylvanians in South Carolina, so it was fun to see them again.

Virginia Cesarez in Immokalee was the first job signed on and signed off. She really wanted a porch and ramp so her very ill, housebound husband could get out. She was so excited when the crew was finished that she walked up and down it, again and again.  Leon, PhD, (Post hole Digger) said the hardest part was digging post holes in the hard, rocky ground. Eileen learned a new skill: drilling in screws!

Deborah Coe signed up last year for a complete new build. She had her foundation poured in December and our crew started working on getting the walls up. By the end of the week, all outside studs and most of the inside walls were in place. A lot of dirt was shoveled, so they got their exercise!  Miss Deborah was very emotional about work finally starting on her new home; she had been waiting for 16 months! Rebecca and Suzie enjoyed meeting Miss Deborah’s 6-year-old neighbor boy Casey. He was very interested in learning about what they were doing. A future volunteer! He brought ice tea over for the group, and the home owner picked oranges for them.

Samantha Parker is getting her old roof removed and replaced with a new one. There are many details in putting a roof on homes in Florida. They have to be made to withstand hurricane winds, so there are many more nails and a lot of glue to apply. She also had some interior damage to walls and ceilings that was repaired.

Maria Sanchez is also getting a new roof. Some trees were trimmed back, shingles and tar paper were removed and new tar paper applied. The job thus far was approved and we are ready for the next step.

We also want to show David and Jennifer Weber, directors of Riverside Camp, our appreciation for them opening their camp to us, so we are also doing things around the grounds. This week the volunteers rebuilt the carport on a maintenance building and cleaned up the area by moving aluminum and wood around to be disposed of. Watch out while working in the yard: there’s poison ivy out there! Riverside Camp is also recovering from Hurricane Irma.

During morning devotions we were reminded to “clothe yourself with compassion” (Colossians) and to “Bring the Good News to the poor”! A good reminder at a very good time.

Phil and Kathleen Maneikis, Russell and Casey DeYoung, Gordon and Maria Martens, Neal Rempel and Jesse Yoder 

First long term group
Russel scraping unexpected frost