Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Carter Work Project with Habitat for Humanity, Day 5

With rain in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, four of us (Tom from NY, David from FL, Rich from CA and myself) decided to get an early start on finishing the roof. We left the hotel in Biloxi about 5AM (my body was just starting to get the idea that it wasn't 3AM) and arrived at the work site about 5:30AM. The drywall guys doing the texturing were just finishing up inside house #17.The Carter Work Project is a blitz build, moving at an unbelievable pace. A big part of that is incredible work on the logistics for the event, including food for thousands of volunteers (provided mostly by the Salvation Army), building the foundation and framing the walls ahead of time, and staging the tons of building materials needed, all spread out across multiple towns in multiple states. Another big part are the Habitat 'gnomes'. These men and women come in at the end of the normal work day, run the plumbing and electrical, and hang and texture the drywall after the volunteers go home. A huge 'thank you!' to all the Habitat gnomes who made the project possible.

After chatting with the drywall crew, we got up on the roof and got to work at first light. It was overcast when we started, so we worked through breakfast (Frank, our house leader, got us some food while we kept going). But the forecasters were right. We got down off the roof (and back up later) because of heavy rain or lightning multiple times. The rain didn't bother us much (though I think us being up there was raising Norm the block manager's blood pressure because none of us were wearing a house leader's yellow shirt), but we got down very quickly when the lightning started up.Others worked mostly indoors or on the porch installing trim, spreading insulation in the attic, hanging doors, and installing the kitchen cabinets.
After lots of trips up and down off the roof, we eventually got it finished. The work day ended a little early for the closing ceremonies back in Biloxi. Because of the weather, they were held at the hotel instead of at Yankie Stadium. That was OK by me because it meant one less bus trip.


Jennifer said...

How cool is that. Congratulations to all of you!

Unknown said...

Thanks! It was an amazing experience. I highly recommend volunteering with your local Habitat affiliate, and if life ever presents you with the chance to take part in a Carter Work Project, go for it.