UMCOR Disaster Response: A Caring Christian Presence
Pictured at right are six responders from First Church, along with Cedar Park responder, Richard Clester. Rev. Will Cotton was on hand to say a blessing before we left.
This time, we were hosted by the First United Methodist Church of Victoria. We arrived late Friday night and received our briefing right away. The picture at left shows all the groups that FUMC-Victoria has hosted since Harvey.
Our first stop was to Port O’Connor, on the ship channel. The home had sustained water damage that blew in under the eaves. Fortunately, the roof was still intact. Team member Dallas Yenawine, ever ready to jump onto a rooftop, caulked and sprayed foam insulation around the eaves to prevent further damage.
Inside, there was mold damage behind the cabinets and under the ceiling. We removed the cabinets, and ripped out the ceiling up to the last of the mold. We also helped the homeowner isolate and fix a leak in her sink.
Next, we headed back to Victoria to aid an elderly deaf man with his kitchen ceiling. We removed the entire ceiling, as it was damaged beyond repair.
The next day, we headed to another house in Victoria, where the roof needed tarping. Unfortunately, it started to rain. Wet tarps are a significant safety hazard to our team members, so we had to put that project on hold for another team.
Our next adventure was to Tivoli, Tx (pronounced Ty-VO-lee), in an area heavily hit by the hurricane. The house next door to our assignment had nothing left but the foundation. A block away, they were burning what was left of a damaged house to make room to rebuild.
Our assigned house was in bad shape, but was still standing. The roof leaked all over. We tarped all but a small square, when we had to stop for more rain.
Inside it was mold, mold, everywhere. We packed up the homeowner’s belongings and set to work with the crowbars. Every wall and ceiling in the house was mold-infested. We got a lot packed, but only had time to remove one ceiling.
All in all, it was a very productive 3 days in the Victoria and coastal areas working with UMCOR. Tarping roofs, removing moldy drywall in ceilings and walls, taking out cabinets and just being a caring presence. Our oldest team member was 87 and we all had trouble keeping up with Richard. We had several “ newbies’ on our team, but you would never know it. They jumped right in and worked through some tough conditions of mold, rain, and wasps that just really liked our green shirts.
We are so proud and humbled to work with such a great team. We’re looking forward to future trips to be the hands and feet of Christ. Our next callout will be December 27-30, 2017. Email Dave Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Thanks also to the Mansfield “old pros” for letting us work beside them and learn the art of putting a tarp on correctly. You guys are the best!