Current News

WV Bridges – Weekly Report – Nov 26-30, 2018

December 6, 2018

We are back in Clendenin, WV at the Stillwaters Ministries Church to build one and possibly two bridges before the holidays begin. Our leadership team this week included Don and Rachel Horst from Newton, Kansas who are our Project Director and Assistant Cook, Georgann and Kurt Melby from Tulsa, Oklahoma who are our Cook and Track-Hoe Operator, and Dan Driediger, our Office Manager from Missinipe, Saskatchewan. Six weekly volunteers joined us from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania this week to brave the snow and cold weather to start building Maria Keen and her family’s new bridge. Maria, who is into her 80’s, cannot get to her home and is living with relatives. Her son and family live there and must park on the road and then walk down a narrow slippery path that used to be their driveway.

We began our week with rain and snow at our project home in Clendenin, and by building the concrete forms and rebar stirrups for Maria’s bridge as well as the stirrups for Mary Starcher’s bridge. In the afternoon, our Office Manager and Track-Hoe Operator got stuck in the mud in Maria Keen’s yard and had to wait for the Project Director to come and rescue them. Tuesday brought snow as the volunteers headed out to the bridge site for the first time. They laid out the bridge, set up a temporary walking bridge, started to put together the gabion baskets, and began removing the old culvert. On Wednesday, the crew moved, filled, and stacked ten gabion baskets in a wall. This gabion basket wall between the creek and the road was 30 feet long, three feet wide and six feet high. This meant that the crew moved between 30 and 35 tons of rock. Thursday started slow when it was realized that a part of the track-hoe was missing to begin driving pipe to the bedrock. Once the part was acquired, the crew managed to drive all of the pipes. They then decided to pour the concrete in the late afternoon and into the evening under the light of headlights and flash lights. The volunteers returned to our base at 8:15 and were greeted with an amazing meal prepared by our cooks.

On Friday, we managed to take off the forms and set the beams for the bridge. The volunteers were treated with a lunch of tacos at Maria’s home. Afterwards, we packed everything up and returned to our base to wash up and pack up. Once the trucks were washed, the crew headed home. Even in wet, cold mud this week, they accomplished much and for that we are very grateful.

Reporting for MDS WV Bridges,

Dan Driediger