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The UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY’S ISSUE
September 27, 2007

Red Arrow-giftCalifornia Group Equips Tool Trailer for Rebuilding
Red Arrow-giftLake Charles Homeowner Sees “Halos” onthe Volunteers
Red Arrow-giftThis Week's Quote
Red Arrow-giftRecovery Stats
Red Arrow-giftCamp Love, Miss...(slide show)

CALIFORNIA GROUP EQUIPS TOOL TRAILER FOR REBUILDING

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

Building contractor Chris Lotz made his first trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast from California just five weeks after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. On his second trip, just three months later, he noticed a problem – volunteers didn’t have the right assortment of tools to help rebuild homes that were damaged by the wind and water of the storm.

In September, 2006, the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church of Alamo, California, donated this fully equipped tool trailer and a pick up truck to the Mississippi United Methodist Conference.

In September, 2006, the San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church of Alamo, California, donated this fully equipped tool trailer and a pick up truck to the Mississippi United Methodist Conference.
Susan J. Meister/UMCOR

Out of his experience EFORRT, Equipment for Recovery Teams, was born. He and his partners raised funds from his home church, San Ramon Valley UMC, about 35 miles east of San Francisco, to purchase a truck and a trailer and to stock the trailer with a wide assortment of tools, including a generator. In September, 2006, Warren McGuffin, another EFORRT founder, drove the truck and trailer to the Seashore Assembly Station in Biloxi, Mississippi. It has been in use ever since.

“One interesting thing was we found some widows in our communities with garages full of tools,” explained Lotz. “The ladies were thrilled to put the tools back to work.”

Miss Hattie’s home benefits from tool trailer

One of the homeowners who has benefited from EFORRT’s ministry is Miss Hattie, whose home in Gulfport was ravaged by the storm. The home, originally built by Seabees in 1976, had not only suffered storm damage, but was also riddled by termites. Volunteers from Pennsylvania and California, working out of the Seashore station, had to jack up and rebuild the foundation, and three of the four walls.

“It was truly a remarkable feat,” Lotz explained, “and I believe it could have only been done with the trailer. It had a generator and all the assets in one spot.”

Homeowner Miss Hattie was so appreciative that she made the volunteers a huge soul food lunch. “Everyone was so full, no one wanted to go back to work,” laughed Lotz.

Miss Hattie (right) with her sister Miss Mattie was so grateful to the volunteer teams.

Miss Hattie (right) with her sister Miss Mattie was so grateful to the volunteer teams.
Photo courtesy Chris Lotz, EFORRT

More of the details about the trailer, including the volunteer usage at Seashore, is at the EFORRT web site.

“Our goal is simple,” Lotz says. “We want to provide assets to other non-profit groups that provide the labor in helping our neighbors to recover.

“Some people in Mississippi were amazed to see people from California helping them,” Lotz continued. “I told them that we expect them to come and help us when the earthquake hits – and every one said they will come.”

To help families in Mississippi rebuild their homes and lives, contact Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Response.

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For more on the United Methodist recovery work visit these web sites:
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
UM News Service
Mississippi Conference
Louisiana Conference
Texas Conference
Alabama-West Florida Conference