July 22, 2013

Day 5 - Crew 2

Friday seemed to come quickly to Crew 2
as we arrived at Dave's for our last day
of work. We got off to a late start because
we were digging around in the ASP warehouse
for some trim for the living room and bathroom.
When we arrived, Crew 6 was already there
and had gotten to work finishing up the ramp.
They stopped what they were doing and we all
participated in the morning prayer.
Dave was wearing his new jeans with the cuffs
rolled up and he had a new shirt on as well.
We were just finishing up our devotion when Crew 3, l
ead by Peter Decoste and Jim Coleman,
pulled up the dirt road and reported that
they had completed the tasks they had been
assigned at their house and were there to
help us.

The rest of Crew 3, Myles O'Brien, Connor Donovan,
Matt Campbell, Jack Flavin and Jack Argus,
jumped right in and helped us finish up our
projects inside.  They also helped load 4 dump
trucks of construction debris and trash.
The yard look 1,000 times better once all
the junk was removed. We broke for lunch and
all had pizza (a nice change from the peanut
butter sandwiches we ate for the first 4 days).
Dave's neighbors came down the hill and joined us.
Around 2:00 p.m., John Barata suggested that
Crews 2, 3 and 6 take a ride and make a surprise
visit to Crew 1 (lead by Jim Condon and Rachel
Vidoni and comprised of Erin Decoste, Caroline
Connly, Jimmy Coleman, Riley Gibson and Katie Holmberg)
and Crew 5 (lead by Jim Lane and Mary Flavin and
comprised of Julia Condon, Lindsey Foster,
Luke Cullen, Kyle Nichols and Eli Vidoni). 
When we arrived at the houses that
Crews 1 and 5 had been working on all week,
the kids were excited to show everyone what
they had accomplished.  It was a great idea to
make these visits.  Then it was back to Dave's
for Crews 2 and 6 to wrap up and say goodbye. 
Jamie and I finished up some trim work in the
living room while Paula, Emily and Jacqui
started cleaning and putting the inside of
Dave's house back together. As we ran the
vacuum and washed things down with Pinesol,
we could not help but reflect on how much better
the trailer looked and smelled.
What a difference a week made inside and out.
Crew 6 made sure Dave's hummingbird feeder
was back in its proper place and Paula hung
up the new bath towels, hand towels and wash
clothes we bought the night before. 
New mats and a runner were also put in place
and a new broom and mop ended up
behind the front door.  While the adults
were getting the vans packed up, all the
kids were up on the porch getting in one
last visit with Dave. Dave's neighbors
returned to the trailer and we gave the
eleven year old boy the complete Persy
Jackson series (he had read the first
one and mentioned that he wanted to get
the next one this summer) and we gave his
sister some coloring books and crayons. 
They were both very excited and appreciative. 
We got Dave into the wheelchair and helped
him get down the ramp and onto the driveway. 
We gave him 4 new shirts, the last one
being an ASP shirt. We told him to think
of us when he put it on and that we would
always be with him in spirit. After hugging
the kids and their Mom, everyone took turns
giving Dave a hug and we all let him know
how much we had  enjoyed getting to know him.
We promised to write and Dave said he would
do his best to write back to Emily and Jacqui. 
We asked the little boy and his Mom to stay
in touch with us and let us know how Dave was doing. 
Then the boys pushed him back up the ramp
and got him situated on the landing. 
The 14 of us piled into the vans and started
down the driveway toward the main road.
Our last sight of Dave was of him sitting
in the sun in one of his favorite spots. 
We waved and honked the horn and 5 seconds
later we were officially gone.
As we drove back to the Center, Crew 2
was somewhat quiet.  One could not help
but acknowledge to himself or herself
that we would not see this special man again.
It didn't seem right considering how close
we had gotten to him in the past 5 days.

And so our work was done.

We had traveled hundreds of miles
to the western mountains of Virginia
to serve someone less fortunate than us.
We came to make a stranger's
home "warmer, safer and dryer." 
But Paula, Emily, Jacqui, James,
Tim,  Phil, Jamie, Chris V., Chris C.,
Aidan, Spencer and Jake did so much more than that. 
For a week in the life of an 81 year old man in
failing health who was a prisoner in his own home,
these amazing people made him feel important, deserving,
happy and loved. God gives us the power to effect people
in this way. It is a power like no other and how we
decide to wield it defines our own life. 
A funny thing happened to us in Jonesville this week. 
In the midst of serving our brother, we were the real
beneficiaries.  We were the real winners. 
We were the ones who came to recognize that humility and
selflessness bring us closer to one another and closer to

As I wrap up this last blog entry,
I just want to let everyone know how much
I enjoyed being with Crew 2.
Paula could not have been a better co-leader and
Emily, Jacqui, Tim, Phil and James are simply
amazing young people. Your parents have reason
to be immensely proud of you - I know Paula and I are. 
Lastly, I want everyone to know how special
it was for me to come on this trip with
Caroline and Aidan. My three children are
my true loves (along with Barbara of course)
and they give meaning and purpose to my own life.
To watch my son and daughter from afar this week
being lead by such remarkable, spiritual and
inspiring adults in Jim, Rachel, Jamie and Chris
was incredibly rewarding and I am so blessed to be
their Dad.




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