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La Grange, TX – Weekly Report – Jan 27-Feb 1, 2019

February 8, 2019

Stuff That Works

There have been a lot of mighty fine singers and songwriters born in Texas. Guy Clark is one of my favorites. I am disappointed I never saw him perform in person. He was described by the New York Times as “a King of the Texas Troubadours” in the 1970’s and 80’s. His career spanned from the early 1970’s to his last album released in 2013 which won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.

In “Stuff That Works” Guy tells about the stuff that makes a difference in a person’s life… both things and people.

Stuff that works, stuff that holds up        The kind of stuff you don’t hang on the wall
Stuff that’s real, stuff you feel                The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall

This is the kind of stuff you need to have around when disaster befalls a community. La Grange, Texas has endured the disaster of Harvey and now is having some good stuff happening. When proposing the MDS response in Fayette County for 2018-19, we knew we would need good people.  With one house finished and seven more underway, a lot of good stuff is going on. This past week was another example of seeing more than we ever asked or imagined.  Stuff That Works.

I’ve got a pretty good friend         Whose seen me at my worst

He can’t tell if I’m a blessing         Or a curse
But he always shows up              When the chips are down
That’s the kind of stuff                 I like to be around

Our volunteers from Nebraska this week are like that.  They have been on MDS jobsites in good times and difficult times.  But, they are always ready to return, especially when a big job needs doing.  The crews also included some Ontario and Pennsylvania young people. Most of them had been to several MDS projects as well.  From the first day, the crews fit together like a pair of boots in which you “can work all day and dance all night.”  Energy was plentiful among our younger volunteers, and when blended with older crew members, there were no tasks that could not be accomplished.

We were introduced to our newest client last Thursday and signed the MDS job card.  We were able to start the foundation for that house on Monday, and got it finished by the end of day on Wednesday.  Stuff That Works.

Work at the other houses was exceptional also. The crew at our third house would have laid all of the flooring on Monday, but the delivery was three boxes short. So, interior doors were hung, and trim was painted and installed. Once the remaining flooring arrived and was installed, the cabinets were organized and set in place.  This is one of our two priority homes, with the clients in FEMA temporary trailers.  This is the kind of stuff you want around you when things get tough.  Stuff That Works.

When building an MDS home, all tasks are vital to getting it ready for a client.  Final punch list items are the finishing touches, but the coats of dry wall mudding and planks of siding installed weeks earlier all lead to that “home stretch.”  In the language of production scheduling, the critical path for a new home flows directly through rough-in, insulation, drywall hanging and finishing, and interior painting.  During those tasks you need people who can get those done day after day. Stuff That Works.

This past week might not have been one to hang on the wall as the most perfect.  A mixture of disappointments, delays, blessings, a dedication, and a new start for a new client… it did not always look pretty.  But it was filled with Stuff That Works.

We say good bye to Ellen, Louise, Elsie, Daniel, Andrew, Anne and Henry, who played key parts in some of the good stuff of January.  Good food, good singing, good work, good leadership at camp and on the crews and some good times around the dining tables. The new month brings new volunteers and more opportunities for Stuff That Works.

From La Grange, Fayette County, Texas
Dan, David, and Carl