|November 2012 RV Care-A-Vanners Update|
On March 2nd, 2012, an EF3 tornado left an 86 mile long by one mile wide swath of destruction through East Central Kentucky. Known as the West Liberty tornado, it marched right through the middle of town with its 165 MPH winds, leaving 10 people dead, 75 injured, numerous business in heaps of debris and 500 housing units severely damaged or destroyed in an area that already had a huge need for low income housing. This would become the site of the RV Care-A-Vanner Program’s first Disaster Response led by Dan and Carolyn Banks and backed by teams of Care-A-Vanners.
For the last few days, Dave and I have had the pleasure to camp and work with these ambitious Care-A-Vanners. We did finish work on a house for a couple who lost everything in the tornado. On March 2nd, Charlie had just gotten home from the drug store 30 miles away with some critical medicine for his wife. He set it on the dining room table of their trailer, heard the tornado warnings and they quickly drove to a neighbor’s house that had a basement. In 14 seconds, their trailer was gone leaving only the dining room table with the medicine still on the table. Thank God, because it would be seven days before anyone from the outside world would get to them in that valley of destruction. A picture of their son was found 30 miles away!
We, the RV Care-A-Vanner Program, and all of you who have been to Morehead Disaster Response, are making a difference here in West Liberty. The conditions aren’t perfect. We have to drive sometimes up to an hour to our worksite. No one brings us lunches or snacks. Porta Potties are in short supply in the county and at our work sites, but our campground was donated by a family that used the property as a place to have cookouts and family events. Dan and Carolyn and their teams had done a great job “sprucing” the place up and putting the Care-A-Vanner touch on it. The people of these hills of Kentucky are some of the warmest and most giving people I have ever met. Helping them get back on their feet is something I want to see the RV Care-A-Vanner Program support for as long as it takes.
The RV Care-A-Vanners will have a long term presence here in West Liberty. Our team is wrapping up their build this year to be replaced by a Mennonite Disaster Relief team. I will be looking for house leaders for next season and scheduling builds in West Liberty and maybe in Morehead. So if you are looking to really make a difference to some people in need, consider signing up for a Kentucky Disaster Response build.
Team leader corner
Hello from Maine where, I am happy to say, we dodged a bullet from Hurricane Sandy. I hope all of you are safe and dry.
A great big "thank you" goes out to our OH SO WONDERFUL October Team Leaders. They are: Art and Ricky Beutler; Tommie and Sandra Brown; Randy and Pam Warner; Bill Oates; Doug Augustine; and Dan and Carolyn Banks who continue to lead the Disaster Response in Morehead, Kentucky.
This month I would like to say a few things about the Team Leader's role in managing expectations, both of the affiliate and the team. Most of our long term Care-A-Vanners have been on enough builds to know that no two are alike. We jokingly refer to "10 pound builds" when the provided lunches are especially good. But, we also know that affiliates who schedule several builds a year and those in small communities may have a harder time providing lunches. On the other hand, it may be easier for small towns to procure free camping at a Mom and Pop campground, while those in a popular tourist destination may have more trouble getting even discounted rates.
While most of us love the framing and dread the painting, we all need to be reminded from time-to-time that getting a family into safe and affordable housing is our ultimate goal and ALL tasks are important. A team leader plays an important role and keeping morale up and modeling flexibility.
Now, many affiliates are blown away by the amount of skill and energy a Care-A-Vanner team brings to a build site, but occasionally they need to be reminded that Care-A-Vanners are often retired, somewhat older, individuals who may not be able to work eight hour days for two weeks straight, especially in harsher weather conditions. While I believe that Care-A-Vanners should try to accommodate the affiliate's request for which days are worked, the Team Leader can certainly negotiate the length of the workday and pace, and call an early day when appropriate. In general, we find that a 6-7 hour workday, with breaks, is plenty.
So, Team Leaders, thank you for all you do and remember you can contact me at any time with questions or concerns.
We’re having a Birthday Party, and you’re invited!
2014 marks the 25th year since the RV Care-A-Vanners began traveling the highways and by-ways of North America building homes for families in need of safe, decent, affordable housing. RV Care-A-Vanners has undergone considerable maturation since the early beginnings and we will unfold historical details over the coming newsletter articles. Harwood and Beth Armitage, Timothy Anderson and Sandra Belford, Jim and Barbara Brown, Warren and Rita Howard, Marie Ishida, John Jurgensen, Bradley and Gail Lancour, Barbara Ludwig and Kathy McCraigh. My apologies if I have included a seasoned Care-A-Vanner or if this is a duplication. Habitat for Humanity is grateful for the work that you do! Improving Safety at the Affiliates
Harwood and Beth Armitage, Timothy Anderson and Sandra Belford, Jim and Barbara Brown, Warren and Rita Howard, Marie Ishida, John Jurgensen, Bradley and Gail Lancour, Barbara Ludwig and Kathy McCraigh.
My apologies if I have included a seasoned Care-A-Vanner or if this is a duplication. Habitat for Humanity is grateful for the work that you do!
Improving Safety at the Affiliates