In the midst of the pandemic, caretakers have retained physical distance while working to not distance socially from our local community. They returned to Ann’s house to put the metal roof and trim on, paint the house, and build her front porch and ramp. Ann was dancing on the porch before all the decking boards were even down and told us she has been eating out on her porch and enjoying the view.
Caretakers Raine and Gemma had a demo week with groups in the second week of March. Working with Ann, they took down 2 porches and began taking the shingles off her roof. In the following weeks, a team of Caretakers went out to remove the rest of the shingles, fix rotting pieces of plywood, demolish her chimney, and get the roof under platinum paper.
Over the first two weeks in March, Caretaker Joseph and Summer Servant Patrick McGinnis started a project with Bonnie to fix her foundation. An unsteady foundation has caused the addition on her house to pull away from the rest of the house causing leaking and roof damage. So far, they pulled off underpinning, dug holes and built piers for the new foundation, poured concrete for the base, reframed the space in between piers, and replaced the underpinning. College volunteers enjoyed hearing her hot takes on love from her decades of marriage. Still to come: fixing the damage to the roof!
Caretaker Tori led groups to work with Leota over two college weeks in March. They helped repaint her house, seal her deck, replace some pieces of siding, and split and move a few truck and trailerfuls of wood. Leota told many stories, and we got many looks at the coal trains as they came rumbling down the train track next to her house.
Caretaker Gemma brought crews to grind out a job with Paul one day and Paige the next during the first group week in March. They worked with Paul to reattach the underpinning on his house which had blown off in a storm. With Paige they sealed her roof to stop some leaks. Thanks to great weather and fast workers for helping with these jobs!
Led by Caretakers Gemma Stanton and Joseph Reilly, groups from January jumpstarted repairs at Charlotte’s house, including a porch demo and reconstruction, fixing the back door, and improving guttering. Charlotte was an energetic cheerleader for us, helping out however she could and even providing pizza one day 🙂 Wet and slippery conditions in her yard caused a buildup of mud on the porch as we worked on it, but Joseph power washed the whole deck and steps. Now, the front porch is ready for Charlotte to relax and enjoy her stunning view of the Greenbrier River!
Caretakers Steve Rassa and Tori Llorens led groups at Mike’s house in the first week of January 2020. They put a metal roof up on top of his shingles and were grateful for relatively-warm weather. A few mornings they experienced delays from snow and ice, but they finished the job in just a few weeks and Mike’s house, built by his grandmother in the ’70s, is that much safer.
Caretaker Steve Rassa led groups at Teshla’s house through the whole summer and early fall. Bethlehem Farm executed a first site visit evaluation during the first week of July 2018 and we finally had the chance to work with her starting May 2019.
Roof – replaced rotted portions of roof and trusses, replaced soffits, installed metal roofing
Main bedroom- water damaged from leaking roof, black mold, unusable and unhealthy space. All of the unsafe and unhealthy materials were removed from the home, leaving only a shell of the room. The room was completely renovated, installing new insulation, drywall on walls and ceiling, a new subfloor, a new laminate wood floor, and new overhead fan with lighting.
Daughter’s bedroom: Pulled up damaged flooring and installed new laminate Pergo flooring and molding.
Bathroom: Home has only one bathroom. When Teshla moved in, the shower did not function, there was no sink, and the toilet had fallen through the floor during the project but prior to renovating the bathroom (required having a portable outdoor toilet brought to her home). The hot water heater had fallen through the rotten floor, walls, ceiling, and floor sustained major water damaged due to a leaking roof and failing plumbing. New insulation, ceiling, walls, floor joists, subflooring, ceramic flooring, shower kit, toilet, vanity sink, and an energy efficient water heater were installed. This was the first time Teshla and her family had a functioning bathroom in over two years.
Caretaker Joseph Reilly led groups at Missy’s house from March to September of 2019 in a project that included many different aspects. The short list?
- Replaced 7 windows
- Fixed the ceilings and added insulation in 4 rooms
- Fixed the floor in 5 rooms
- Replaced the porch roof
This project was the first to utilize our new tool trailer, and it made a world of difference to have many tools close by for whatever surprise presented itself.
Caretakers Joseph and Raine and Summer Servants instructed groups to the completion of demolition and construction of a new 8’x12’ deck with 36’ of wheelchair ramp. This allowed Paul to safely make his Dr. appointments after medical complications.
Steve’s first service site as a caretaker was working with Fred Elkins. Fred has a second smaller house on his property that he uses to assist those in need. Steve, assisted by several weeks of volunteers, removed all of the existing windows and installed 8 new replacement windows. Six of the existing windows were damaged and some with missing glass panes. Two “windows” were mere wall openings with pinned up blankets between the freezing temperatures outdoors and the children’s bedrooms. Eight new energy efficient windows, along with new interior and exterior moldings, were installed during the group weeks in March 2019. The home’s heating system is now able to sufficiently keep the interior space, and its occupants, warm.
We were excited to welcome both Greg and Josh to Community Night, as they were able to get out of their houses and come visit us because of their new wheelchair ramps this summer. We began at Greg’s by transplanting five bushes and a small tree away from the wall the ramp now runs along. For a while it looked like the bushes were goners, but they happily survived and are thriving once again. From there we dug holes and began laying lumber. The second wheelchair ramp was at Josh’s house and was a bit larger than Greg’s. However, this proved to be no match for volunteers on Adult Week and Family Week. Wielding numerous post-hole diggers (sometimes two at a time), Adult Week volunteers cleared the way for Family Week volunteers to speed through installation of deck board and railings.
Gloria’s home in Hinton can be seen from much of the town, as it has little additional wind blocks or neighboring buildings sheltering it from the elements. This became an issue as the exterior paint began to chip and peel. Volunteers managed to tough out sweltering June heat and now Gloria’s fresh white coat can be seen from across the river.
Frances lives just down the hill from Gloria. The exterior paint on the trim wood work on her home was facing similar problems and her two back buildings needed a complete new coat. Volunteers and visiting Jerusalem Farmers helped get the majority of the work done in October and November, and caretakers managed to tidy everything away before the first major snowstorm hit.