We had a great last day of work, but it was also a bittersweet one. We have grown to love the people of Mississippi, who have been so kind and generous. We will miss talking to Steve over his cup of coffee. We will miss Helen and Mable, who chose bright colors for their walls to combat the dreariness the hurricane brought into their lives. We will miss the stray dogs and Buddy, the little dog who was always by Skip's (Square Foot Ministries) side. We will miss Karen's (Project Hope and Compassion) vivacity and boundless energy. We will miss the other volunteers who brought with them the determination to make a difference in the face of overwhelming hopelessness.
We sent two groups back to Steve and Debvie's house, and they were able to finish almost all of the ceiling and 80% of the drywalling. The third group continued their painting crusade and were able to paint a deck, a ton of rails for another deck, and base board.
At the end of the day, we had the privilege of presenting the nail gun, drywall screw guns, and other equipment to Skip and Carolyn at Square Foot Ministries. As I mentioned before, it was sad to say goodbye, as we had grown fond of them. Skip presented the group with one of his jackets. It was especially meaningful because he had lost most of his possessions in the hurricane. The group decided to give the jacket to Janet Wehner because of her role in planning for the trip.
Tomorrow, we will return home to Maryland, but each of us will take with us something that will stay with us forever. Whether it was hearing the stories of survival, listening to the train as it rumbled through the heart of the town, seeing the difference one person can make, making new friends, or simply getting to know a grandmother better, we all have cherished memories from this experience that we will share with you when we get back.
Thank you for checking this blog. We appreciate your prayers and your help in making this a successful trip! We hope to return. With your support, we can continue to make a difference in Mississippi.