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UMCOR Bright Spots

IN TODAY’S ISSUE
November 29, 2007

* Rebuilding From Rita Continues in Southeast Texas
* We'd Like to Hear From You
* This Week's Quote
* Recovery Stats
* Houses Dedicated In Hancock Co...(slide show)

REBUILDING FROM RITA CONTINUES IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS

By Susan J. Meister, Gulf Coast Communications

Alan Miller, Construction Supervisor for Rita Recovery, said that Miss Deloris had a “50/50 floor” in her kitchen in Port Arthur, TX. “There’s a 50/50 chance you’ll go through it depending on where you step,” he explained.

 Miss Deloris (right) and Family Advocate Manager Nina Rios share a smile next to the new plywood for the homeowner’s kitchen floor.

Miss Deloris (right) and Family Advocate Manager Nina Rios share a smile next to the new plywood for the homeowner’s kitchen floor.
Susan J. Meister/UMCOR

Miss Deloris’ home suffered extensive water damage when the winds from Hurricane Rita damaged her roof in September 2005. But when Family Advocates Manager Nina Rios met with her, she asked the Rita Recovery Team to “please look at my mother’s house first.” Her mother, who lives just down the street and is confined to a wheel chair, needed help with wider door openings, ramps and repairs for the extensive water damage. A volunteer team with members from three states and Canada began working around her belongings— tackling carpentry, plumbing and electrical projects.

Meanwhile, back at Miss Deloris’ home, a volunteer team from nearby Huntsville and Cady, TX, addressed Miss Deloris’ 50/50 floor situation. “We are so happy. This is more than we expected,” she said. “You need a lot of patience. It can get tense when you wonder how are you gonna get resources,” she continued. “But as time goes on, you see movement, you see people coming to help.” Miss Deloris is glad she found Nina Rios–she calls her “beautiful lady.” Rios, who has been a special help to Miss Deloris, manages the Port Arthur office of the Rita Recovery effort, which is directed by Angela Baker.

UMCOR Partners in Long-Term Recovery

Jere Kessler, volunteer from Huntsville, TX, cuts flooring for the kitchen.

Jere Kessler, volunteer from Huntsville, TX, cuts flooring for the kitchen.
Susan J. Meister/UMCOR

Hurricane Rita, the seventh costliest storm in US history, made landfall on September 24, 2005, near the Texas-Louisiana border. Over the past two years, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has worked with the Texas and Louisiana Conferences of The United Methodist Church to design and implement long-term recovery plans and manage volunteer teams.

The Rita Recovery offices cover Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange, Texas, and the surrounding communities. The Port Arthur office has assisted in the completion of more than 90 homes, with more on the waiting list. “The piece of paper on the wall in front of my desk says it all…prayers, patience, persistence,” said Baker. “I am overwhelmed with emotion when I remember the thousands of volunteers who have come to repair homes.”

“Volunteers come with open hearts and a huge love for homeowners,” added Miller. “Loving God and loving neighbor really does work. (But) my fear is on that ‘last day’ when I leave for home, I will drive by a ‘Blue Roof’ or a FEMA trailer and know we quit too soon.”

Miss Deloris gave her visitors a prayer book as they left her home and sent them on their way with a huge smile and warm hug. “We must stay faithful,” she said. “We are blessed.”

To learn more about the work and volunteer opportunities in Southeast Texas, go to the Rita Recovery web site.

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