Marianna, FL – Weekly Report – Mar 2-6, 2020

March 27, 2020

There are many sayings and songs about light bringing change to a situation. It may be the light at the end of a real or figurative tunnel, or the sun coming up to drive away the darkest hour just before dawn.  It might be “heavenly sunlight flooding my soul with glory divine”.  Who does not like being bathed in warm sunlight after a cold winter.

Country Singer Hank Williams was a man who experienced a lot of darkness in his life.  Physical pains, too many miles on the road, too many medicines and too much alcohol can blind a person to the joy of living.  In his song, “I Saw the Light” he sings about some of the battle between dark and light.

Just like a Blind Man, I wandered alone. Worries and fear I kept for my own.
Then like a blind man that God gave back his sight.
Praise the Lord, I saw the Light

There is a long, dark path back to normal for many families after a disaster like Hurricane Michael in the panhandle of Florida.  During the first week of March, we could see light shining in the paths of our clients.  We are planning three dedications during the month, so the progress this first week was important for meeting those dates. The two new houses started in February are at a time when delays can happen, but good leaps of progress can also occur.

We welcomed new, or returning, long term staff for the month of March from Manitoba, Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.  Some of our Michigan short term volunteers stayed for a second week, which provided continuity at a few of the houses.  Also joining us for the week was a group of 9 men from Wisconsin, most of whom had been with MDS in LaGrange last year.  So, we had some capable, skilled volunteers for the week.

At the house for Chrystal and Harold and their family, the crew was working on punch list items. Appliances arrived and were installed. Lights were turned on. Water got hot and flowed to all the right places. Door hardware, closet shelving, and final touch-ups of paint were completed.  One day and a half are remaining for Roger and his crew to get the place spruced up for dedication on Tuesday.  The faces of the family light up with gladness and anticipation when the big day is mentioned.  They joined us for a meal this week and were able to share their story and appreciation.

In Altha, the new build for April and Charles is also in the final few days.  The light is visible at the end of the tunnel leading to their new home.  All that remains is the kitchen counter and sink, storm door, and some touch up painting. The house is ready for the subs to get the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems all hooked up.  Phil and his small crew will get these items done and the house ready for dedication by the March 17 target date..

Further west from Altha, the new house for Ms. Patricia is moving right along.  Having a professional painter working there for much of the week means all of the interior doors, walls and trim look really nice.  We have over two weeks to finish that one, but the cabinets and counters and other “final” items are already installed.  We should have a nice cushion of time, assuming the subs get in and out in the anticipated times.

Our two remaining new builds saw the inspectors show up.  In the one for Ms. Theresa, we are now handing drywall.  In the one for Ms. Vivian and Mr. Tony, we are now installing insulation.  Early in the week, a crew was caulking the siding and exterior trim on Ms. Theresa’s house.  Nothing was done for Ms. Vivian while waiting for inspection. With that delay, these last two houses are at about the same point. Both will need a ramp built and railings completed.  We will need to juggle inside work and the outside work as the potential for March showers continues.

At Mr. Charles house, a lot of electrical work was completed and the crew started the re-framing of window openings. The electric service is ready for reconnecting, but it was not to be.  The county needs to determine what category the restoration of this older house should fall in for inspections.  Lots of work remains on this house.

I saw the light, I saw the light           No more darkness, No more night.
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight       Praise the Lord, I saw the Light

We are indeed praising the Lord for being able to see some light in the future for our clients.

From Marianna, Florida; Jackson and Calhoun Counties
Linda, Roland, Anne, Roger, Tom, Phil, Laura and Carl