Tuesday March 7, 2006
Back to the house in Bay St. Louis, Miss., full of all its contents, covered in eight inches of mud and muck…
Couches, chairs, bathtubs and toilets came out of the house, down the steps and into the massive piles of debris in the front yard. After a full day of removing every mud-covered item inside, Jannaly Carlson and her crew returned to finish the job. Today it was finally time to tear down the walls, rip out the insulation and gut the house.
Another part of Jannaly’s crew is community member Ann Marie Hamilton, 67, of Ischua, N.Y. She read about BonaResponds in the newspaper and decided it was something she wanted to do. “This is so not like me to do something like this,” Anne said, “but I was so moved and I just thought, I have to do this. So here I am and I’m loving it!”
Sledgehammers slammed and hammers hit the sheetrock forcefully, crumbling it to the ground. Crowbars clawed at the moldy insulation, as muddy sludge flew down the pipes and out the window by the bucketful. They added the damaged drywall and ruined framework to the two massive heaps outside the house.
After moving pounds of mud and sweating in the sun, the crew was almost finished. They removed nails from the framework and swept up the mess. As the major cleanup ended, so did another hard day of work for this crew.
“I went out to a site for the very first time today and I loved it!” Anne explained. “I tore down sheetrock and pulled nails and shoveled. I’m going back out tomorrow and the next day and the next day…. as long as my body lets me.”
Anne’s crew speaks very fondly of her. “She’s such a wonderful woman and a great addition to our team,” Jannaly said. The feeling is mutual. Anne called the BonaResponds group “fantastic! I just think the Bona students are topnotch. I love them all! They’re just a great group!”
Ferris Kelly, another group leader, was also out on site with his crew. His crew is hanging sheetrock for a family whose kitchen and living room were destroyed in the hurricane.
Ferris explained, “The people down here are absolutely so appreciative of what we are doing. Before I can even get a sentence in they are thanking me for helping. I’m having a great time, I’m helping people and making better relationships with my friends, not to mention I’m meeting so many new people.”
Wyatt Blakenship of Metaire, La., has been out on site with Ferris Kelly’s group in Gulfport, Miss. Wyatt’s daughter lives in Long Beach, Miss., and while visiting her Wyatt decided he wanted to help out. Wyatt has been helping the crew with drywalling, teaching them how to apply it and fixing any minor mistakes that arise. The whole crew enjoys having Wyatt around; he feels the same.
“You don’t read about kids in the news doing good things like this; they usually only show the problems and drugs kids are involved with, but you guys are great. You’re the future of this country – and this country is in good hands,” Wyatt said.
SBU Responds to Katrina
Countdown! | On the Road | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5