The Youth Mission Trip Team, consisting of 36 high school students and adults, traveled to Florida for one week in late June to do disaster recovery work. There they helped repair homes damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The team served communities located in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco Counties in partnership with the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Below is an account of their experiences:
Our worksite group consisted of Trey Von Heill, Matt G, Danny Koehler, Aidan Johnson, Jane DesMarais, Matt Nall, and Shannon Donohoe. Yesterday, we arrived at the worksite and met two really interesting and grateful people. The homeowner directed us to moving a few bureaus and chests out of what was previously their master bedroom. We then split into groups to accomplish the following. The first group spent 3-4 hours tearing down the existing wallpaper and scraping it off the walls with a vinegar solution. The second group dug around the outside of the house where dirt had been built up trapping moisture. Then they painted the outside walls with a moisture lock rubber solution to seal the house. The third group tore down the wallpaper in the bathroom, removed the toilet and vanity, cut out drywall to find beams, and took up the existing tile. Our work group is really excited to get back to the site for day two to put up a layer of drywall, paint, and put down flooring in the master bedroom. Also, paint a second coat on the wall outside, and paint, install a floor, and put a toilet/vanity into the bathroom.
Today was the second day on our worksite. We were the Orange Group and our supervisors were Steve and Kristin. The day before, we got rid of old flooring and insulation. Today we were continuing a lot of the projects from yesterday. This involved installing new insulation, doing demolition in the kitchen, and putting two-by-fours to help with support for the new flooring. We also cut and put drywall over the new insulation. The case manager, JB, came to talk to us today. We discussed how the clients are impacted by the work that we do, and even though they may seem like they aren’t really acknowledging us, they are extremely grateful. We got a lot of work done, but we did have some rough times. One of the rooms where we were working on the floor had a break in the sewage pipe so there was a small puddle of leakage on the ground. People were falling through the floor a lot in those rooms because to work in there, we had to balance on wooden beams while trying to swing a hammer. This didn’t work too well for us. Overall, we got a lot of work done. With the help of our worksite manager Gerald, our work improved throughout the day and the house is definitely on the way to becoming better. Our team worked really well together and we hope that EJ (the homeowner) will have a nice place to live and work on his cars in the near future. –Samantha and Carissa
Day 2 PM
The Youth Mission Trip team was invited to a pool party hosted by one of the worksite coordinators. Swimming in the inlet and a BBQ, great time for all.
Well deserved day off at the beach!
On my worksite there was a ton of water damage to the roof which caused water damage to the insulation and the dry wall, meaning we had to redo the ceiling. On the first day, we took down the dry wall that suffered water damage along with the insulation. Then we replaced the existing wood beams that had termite damage. After we replaced the wood beams, we started put in the dry wall insulation. On the second day, we demoed the other room, replaced the dry wall and Instillation, and muddied the new dry wall. On the third day, we added drywall to the den, insulated the back room, and added the dry wall. We also finished mudding the front room and den along with beginning to sand to front room . On the fourth day, we patched all the holes, muddied the dry wall, and sanded the parts we muddied on the previous day.
On Friday, work continued at our four worksites – flooring, taping and mudding ceilings, and painting. Though we left the projects unfinished, each site coordinator was thrilled with the amount of work we accomplished in four work days. Another group will be along in a week or two to pick up where we left off, as we have done for other groups in years’ past. Friday evening is steeped in tradition. Each little church (work-site group) prepares a skit recounting humorous events throughout the week. Pastor Tom then hands out awards (some serious, some humorous) to each participant celebrating their contributions to the trip. We wrapped up the night with a Joel Read sing-along – one of the group’s favorite activities. It was a wonderful and memorable week for all.
Our flight was cancelled so we had to stay an extra night in the airport Marriott Hotel.