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Wharton, TX – Weekly Report – Feb 11-15, 2019

February 19, 2019

This week leadership for the Wharton team included Ohio residents Dave Hughes as Project Director and Patti Hughes as Office Manager as well as crew leaders Chad Weaver and Marian Gochnauer, both from Pennsylvania. We had three weekly volunteers who stayed on from last week, two from Saskatchewan and one from Pennsylvania. New arrivals included six from Pennsylvania, six from Maryland, and Kent Hering from Minnesota who came to learn about the Office Manager position.

The first two houses we are building, for homeowners Allen and Baker, are at about the same point in their construction. We fastened the roof paper on and installed windows. The utility rooms were drywalled and platforms were built for the air conditioning units. Then contractors came to start on these houses: roofers, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC workers. City workers came and dug up the road to tie in sewer and water, and the electrical service pole was put in place. The MDS volunteers continued working on building the porches and stairs and adding the soffits.

We had the opportunity to meet Sara Baker this week. She will be living in the second house we started. Case managers Janie Becerra and Kathleen Kopecky brought her to dinner and they were joined by her cousin and her cousin’s husband.  Miss Sara explained that she could not have completed the application process without the help of her cousin to assist with all the paperwork involved. She gave praises to God for the blessing of a new house, saying she didn’t have anything and had to stay in an apartment.  Another guest was Jim Leckinger who works as program manager for Wharton County Recovery Team. He spoke about his work for the recovery team and for Team Rubicon, an organization that helped with the early response in this area.

The Coleman house progressed well this week. The walls and trusses went up. Sheeting was added to roof and sides and the porch framing was started. It was really looking like a house by the end of the week.

Work continued inside the warehouse this week with the painting of all materials available for the home of Thomas and Lily Washington. Friday was the big day when the piers were poured for their house so we will be starting our work for them next week.

A large delivery of doors and windows arrived mid-week. The painters kept right on painting, even after completing what they had for the four MDS houses. Thus, some painting is done for future construction to be done after the Wharton MDS project closes at the end of March.

On Friday everyone worked together to clean up the job sites, then returned to camp for the usual cleaning detail: vehicles, dining hall, and dorms. It is a lot of work, but cleaning is an important way to show respect for what we are using.  As Project Director Dave Hughes says, “You wouldn’t want to leave the breakfast dishes on the table to use for dinner.” It is not just at the job sites that the work takes place. There is cleaning at camp, repair of tools, vehicle maintenance, and paperwork to go along with it all. It really takes a lot of teamwork to keep our projects running smoothly.  And some nice dry weather like we had this week helps too!

Patti Hughes for the Wharton team