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This week’s volunteers were from northeast Ohio near where Project Director Dave Hughes and Office Manager Patti Hughes live. Our crew leaders included Ron Roth from northwest Ohio, Neil Pettifor from Indiana, and year-long volunteer Eric Douglas from Mississippi.  Crew leader Keith Barth from North Carolina will be heading home at the end of the week. We really appreciate his knowledge and leadership. Ron’s wife, Char was Head Cook and we also had Michelle Weaver and Melanie Zimmerman from Pennsylvania who will be taking turns as Assistant Cook and crew member.

With nice weather in the 50’s and 60’s this week the focus was on outdoor work as much as possible.  It will be a colorful neighborhood.  We painted Norma Russell’s house a pale pink, the Alan Ladd house a deep purple, and Lila Torres’s house a dark maroon. There was also some sanding and mudding to be in the Torres and Ladd houses. Any interior trim and doors needing paint were laid out in the sun because everyone wanted to be outdoors.

We began a new house this week for Lisa Davis.  Work progressed quickly with experienced framers available this week.  On Monday the floor deck was in place, and they began laying out walls.  By Friday, the roof was on and nearly ready for shingles.  Lisa Davis came for supper one evening and told of her experience during the tornado.  She and her husband and grandchildren sheltered in a cellar, standing in 2 feet of water.  Their house, which is a few miles outside of Dawson Springs, was shifted off the foundation and could not be repaired.  Even though they had insurance, the company could not be convinced to cover their loss. She is very grateful for MDS and our partners who are here to help.  Her case manager, Stacey Menser, aptly described her own role: case managers match people affected by disasters with the available resources.

Our volunteers had a field trip on Thursday evening. We visited the Dawson Springs History Museum and Art Center. A volunteer gave us a tour and told us about the town’s fame as a resort destination featuring unique mineral water wells and spas.  People came by train from distant cities and stayed in large hotels. There was also a Veterans Hospital and a mill.  Coal mining and industry developed in the area but is now greatly diminished. They are proud of their sports heritage: at one time Dawson Springs was the spring training location for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was a productive and joyful week. It seems the first-time MDS volunteers were surprised they had so much fun!  We send our thanks to all our family members and employers back in our hometowns who take care of things so we can all be here.

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