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West Virginia Bridges, Weekly Report, Nov 5-9, 2018

November 13, 2018

Currently, we are located in Moundsville, West Virginia for a total of three weeks to build two bridges. Our second week in Moundsville is just wrapping up, but this is only our first weekly report since the move. Last week (October 29-November 02), we had six weekly volunteers from Northeastern Ohio, who started Michael Simms’ bridge, along with Wendell Lantz from Paoli, Indiana who is the track-hoe operator and crew leader. Georgann Melby joined us at the start of the week to become our cook and her husband, Kurt, joined us as the next Track-Hoe operator. Mid-week, Dan Driediger from Northern Saskatchewan, Canada arrived to replace Lydia Cox as the Office Manager. Sam Miller also arrived mid-week from Harrisonburg, Virginia to replace Doug Reesor as the Project Director.

This week, we were joined by five weekly volunteers: David from Benton, MO, Ben and Ken from Narvon, PA, Chris from Wernersville, PA, and Terry from Delta, PA. On Monday, half the crew went out to Michael Simms’ bridge to set the beams of the bridge on the concrete piers built by last week’s crew. The other half of the volunteers stayed at our cabin near Moundsville and set to work building the concrete forms and rebar baskets for our next project, the Little Grave Creek bridge. On Tuesday, several volunteers began installing the decking on Michael Simms’ bridge. The remaining volunteers finished up the concrete forms and re-bar baskets for the Little Grave bridge, and then joined the others at Michael Simms’ bridge. On Wednesday, everyone worked at Michael Simms’ bridge, moving the rip rap and gabion baskets to where they needed to go, finishing up with concrete work and continuing with the decking. On Thursday, work continued at Michael Simms’ bridge and we began at the Little Grave Creek bridge digging the holes for where the piers will go. On Friday, work was finished at Michael Simms’ bridge. In the afternoon we held a bridge dedication for Michael Simms’ bridge and afterward, Michael pulled out three guitars and we jammed and sang together for over an hour.

During the home dedication the few of us that were not regularly at the job site noticed a telephone pole planted next to the bridge. Mike said that the placement of that pole was his revenge. It was THAT pole, over a year and a half ago, that came down the creek during a flood, and jammed under his bridge, destroying his connection to the outside world. The pole, which belongs to the electric company, now stands erect, right next to the bridge. He has plans to connect a light to it in the future.

On Friday, we bid farewell to Ben, Chris, David, and Ken who are headed home and back to their jobs and families. Terry will head on a weeklong vacation on Sunday and is planning to return to us in two weeks to serve another week term. We greatly appreciate all their service and their extra-long hours in bridge building. They came as green 2×4’s and left as bridge builders. We hope to see them all again in the future.

Reporting for MDS West Virginia Bridges,

Sam Miller and Dan Driediger