Local volunteers work to restore disaster areas

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Staff Writer

A group volunteers from churches in Ridgway traveled to North Carolina earlier this month on a Mission Trip to aid in ongoing recovery efforts in the state devastated by a Hurricane Florence last fall.
Pastor Susan Fox led Gail Gover of Trinity United Methodist Church, Alan Lingenfelter of the Church of the Nazarene Church and Mike Roselli, Pete Dutchot, Mike and Josh Roselli and Rick Amacher of First Lutheran Church on the trip to New Bern, North Carolina, the first state capital, home to Tryon Palace and the birthplace of Pepsi Cola to assist in reconstruction efforts on six family units. They soon discovered that it wasn't just homes they were there to mend, but spirits as well.
"It became apparent that by the second day that many of the families we were there to help just wanted to talk to other people that had not been living in the reality that they had been in the past few months," said Pastor Fox. "They wanted to know all about where we were from, our jobs and our families, talking about anything but the Hurricane was a relief to them." 
Pete Dutchcot agreed; "It was a bit overwhelming how thankful they were just to be able to talk about another place and other people's lives and towns." 
Putting back together homes was the reason the group went but by sharing their faith through their actions "we helped put lives back together," said Alan Lingenfelter.
Pastor Fox recounted one house that a group went to where a 90-year-old man was so happy they put up the drywall that went over his bed, he jumped up and down on it like an excited child.
"It gave us all a good smile for the rest of the trip," said Gail Glover.
"Astrid was the name of one woman we helped," said Pastor Fox and Glover. "We were able to fix her garage door, de-mold the walls, and then paint them a bright, cheery yellow. And we cleaned and scrubbed. When that was all done, she informed us that she did not want the garage to park her car in but just wanted to 'sit in it.' So... we placed a rug on the floor and set a table and chair for her. The final touch was the placing of her Bible on that table."
"The home we worked at is the residence of Chaplain George and his wife," explained most of the men in the group. "The entire first floor was stripped to the 2x4s. The family had gotten the ceilings done and we did the rest. When we left at the end of the week, it was almost ready for painting." 
Pastor Fox continued, "The lady of the house said, 'I could live in the house just the way it is.' Do you think she was a bit ready to get back to some sort of normalcy?"
The group even got to partake in some of the famous hospitality of the south with a BBQ feast one of the nights they were there, with Glover being the only dissenter when it came to the vinegar-based sauce. BBQ is serious business in the Carolinas and the group evidently had Eastern-style BBQ. The eastern-style sauce is vinegar- and pepper-based, with no tomato whatsoever. Perhaps next time they are down they will get to try Lexington-style barbecue (occasionally referred to as Piedmont or Western-style) which uses a "red" sauce/dip that is seasoned with ketchup, vinegar, and pepper, along with other spices that vary from recipe to recipe. 
As the group gathered on Tuesday night at the First Lutheran school to discuss the trip, the question of whether would they go again was brought up and all said yes. But for some, the trip sparked another idea and might become a theme throughout fundraisers for churches all over Ridgway this summer. Portable shower trailers.

To read the full article, see Friday's publication of the Ridgway Record (Friday, Feb. 1, 2019)