Thursday, December 29, 2005

We Have a Roof!

A work crew in Biloxi completed our first roof today, cleaning off the old shingles and installing new architectural shingles on a residence. This is a new thing for the relief efforts in the Gulf region, most will not attack this task due to liability and training issues. The mucking out, though, is about done and new tasks need to be tackled. Our own Joe Fielden of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, in conjunction with Fritz Schilling and the teams on the ground in Mississippi, mapped out an ambitious plan to put roofs onto houses so that people could then more easily continue the work of wiring and plumbing and sheetrocking that cannot be done until a roof is on.

We have 9 crews on roofs in neighborhoods in Biloxi where insurance is either non-existent or folks are way under-insured. We have completed the first roof today using the system that Joe and Paul Risk, our man on the scene, built and trained us on. We have nine more roofs underway and will begin five new ones on Friday. What a joy it is to see the results of your work, to experience the new and exciting next steps with a family that has been out of their home for more than four months now. The excitement among our folks, most of whom have never even been on a roof, much less installed one, is high and the energy level continues to be excellent.

We will write more as we go along and give a full report upon our return. This is exciting work that we are doing and fun. Spring Break will be upon us before you know it and we hope that many more East Tennessee Presbyterians will want to spend it roofing.

Peace and grace,
Steve Benz
Sierra Group – Workteam One


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