by, Polly Turner MD
My arms are aching this morning, but ready for another day of pry bar and hammer, pulling out wet drywall, insulation, carpet and tile. We have worked three days and mucked out three homes. The first home was an unemployed, uneducated young man and family, who got 8 feet of water in the lower level of their very old home by the river. Mold everywhere in dense patches. The second home belonged to “collectors” who expected to sell this stuff on Amazon. The 7’ of water soaked the piles of treasures stacked 5’ high all through the lower level of this rickety house, soaking everything and leaving a dense coat of mold. We shoveled out the possessions, which they wanted to save for the most part. So we laid out to dry what we could, despite the mold and cleaned out the home down to the studs, ready for a rebuild. But early yesterday the homeowners decided they didn’t want all that stuff. They wanted to move on. We then took the trash to the curb while real treasures were carefully washed with bleach by a couple of our older workers. The church at work, helping people take the next step in recovery, empowering them to make decisions that will help their lives begin to move forward. Before our coming, they had not touched anything flooded. As team members listened, the God was able to work, helping the survivors see options.
The third house yesterday had been cleaned out by the children, but the mold continued to grow. Now the little three bedrooms, uninsured house owned by a fellow with cancer and smoker’s lungs is cleaned out, and the house can be sold, to support him in his final years.
The value of our work is roughly $20,000 of contractor costs for each home. So far, 17 people on this team have donated $60,000 of work. In essence, we gave each homeowner $20,000, except the second home, which would have been much more. In three days, each team member has donated $4000 worth of labor to survivors of the LA floods. More monies than most people earn in three days.
When I get the photos, I’ll show you how stunning we look in our personal protective equipment that we wear all day. A real fashion statement!
Special thanks to my kids who are tending their Dad.