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Ash Houghtaling and Erica Morgan help install a new floor in the trailer.

            A family in the farming community of Hastings, Fla. will never forget 15 people from Portland’s McKendree Memorial United Methodist Church who came to their community for a week to make their home habitable again.

The elderly family with a handicapped son had been living with their daughter since their trailer had been severely damaged by Hurricanes Irma (2017) and Michael (2018).

            The group of six adults and nine young people left July 23 and arrived in Florida late that night.

            The group was tasked with repairing a family’s trailer so they could move back in. Since the area is still receiving disaster relief, all the materials were supplied to repair the trailer. When the group arrived to begin repairs, they were overwhelmed with the condition of the trailer and the smell of stagnant water.

The first major job was cleaning the windows which were covered with sand and grime from the weather. Two men in the group were talented with construction skills and knew how to train the others to do the various tasks. They taught the youth how to take out the damaged floors and replace them with new flooring. The work was distributed with everyone having a job to do. Some scrubbed bathroom fixtures, while others painted. Two ladies served as cooks and prepared meals for the workers when they finished their daily tasks.

            As a reward for their hard work, the youth were given time on Wednesday afternoon to visit historic St. Augustine. While they didn’t have time to do a walking tour, they were able to drive by many of the significant historical places. They enjoyed some time at the beach and swimming in the ocean.

            This was the first time a team came in and did a total re-do. Usually projects have several  groups come in and do certain phases of a project. The MMUMC group was able to participate in a house blessing with the family when they were totally finished. The family thanked the church for sending the group and expressed their appreciation for the hard work they had done getting their home repaired so they could move back.

            Alice Amonette said, “We came back feeling blessed seeing what we could do. The young people worked very hard and the trip was ‘drama-free.’ They worked hard all week. Some of the  young people had never done anything like this before.”

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