After the Fire – Weed Recovery Mission Trip

On the afternoon of September 15, 2014, a fire intentionally set by a transient, roared through the far northern California town of Weed (near Mount Shasta).  Known as the Boles Fire, it was under control in two hours, but not before it destroyed nearly 160 homes and commercial properties, including the Presbyterian and Catholic churches.  Everything in its path was burned to the ground.  Herculean efforts saved the high school and the lumber mill, which provides work for much of the town.  While no one died in the fire, lives were turned upside down.

Teamed with Habitat for Humanity, UMCOR has sponsored a small volunteer program to assist residents with recovery.  During the second week of September 2017, our group of 10 from Asbury UMC and Lynnewood UMC, traveled to Weed to help.  We worked on two homes.

One of our projects was for Lewis and Amber Powell and their two young children.  This will be the first home that they own.  Sadly, they have lost two places where they lived to fire in the last five years.  Consistent with the Habitat model, their down payment on the home is 500 hours of work.  Known as “sweat equity,” they, along with the help of family and friends, are helping to build their house. We were amazed by the commitment of this family to recover, yet again.  They are not bitter, but feel blessed to have strangers, like us, invest in their future.

This house is in its early stages of construction.  Our work was to build the forms for the foundation so that the concrete could be poured.  After a grueling week of dusty digging, rough carpentry and steel tying, the concrete was successfully poured on Friday afternoon!

Our second project was for Jackie Brown.  Born and raised in the home that burned down, she is determined to rebuild.  Another Habitat project, this home is being funded by the Weed Rotary.  The challenge for her is that she also in treatment for cancer.  At present, she is working and living in Folsom as a Hospice caregiver.  Our work included prepping the roof for shingles, installing siding and exterior finishing.  Several of our team spend much of theweek on the roof, despite some blustery winds on occasion.

We saw God’s glory every day in one of the most beautiful places we have ever served.  It was rewarding, working for people we admire for their will to recover. Our team shared great camaraderie, meaningful devotion time and the blessing of “being the hands of Christ.”

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In God’s service, Dick Crawford, Cynthia DeLand, Steve Elliott, Roger Everett, Ray Spooner, Nancy Deis, Doug Huey, Ron Logan, Anton West, and Steve Wilson.  

 

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