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Long term staff arrived in McAllen Texas this week to prepare for the arrival of weekly staff in the weeks to come. Project Coordinator Carl Dube (MI) greeted Project Director Jay Finkbiner (PA), Construction Manager John Stutzman (MT, Head Cook Em Yoder (VA) and Office Manager and Covid Mitigator Don Yoder (VA). Crew Leader Fred Hershey (AL) arrived later in the week.

In June 2018, a sudden severe storm dumped heavy rains on the mesas north of McAllen, TX, and swept into the tributaries to the Rio Grande River. This freak storm created flooding where not typically expected, as the affected homes were not in a typical flood plain. MDS volunteers will primarily be focused on new construction.

First Methodist Church of Walesco is renting their facility across the street from the church to MDS. It includes office and sleeping accommodations as well a large dining room and kitchen.

For the month of October MDS is working with a United Methodist local long term recovery group. Construction on the first home will begin next week.

Volunteer Reflections

The luggage of Jay Finkbiner, Project Director for McAllen TX went from Harrisburg PA to Dallas TX without a hitch. But the baggage handlers could not figure out where to send it from there because the ID tag was missing.

Arriving in Corpus, Jay filed a missing luggage claim and was assured the bag would be delivered in the next few days. It had not arrived by mid-week so Jay called Josh in Lititz and got a phone number for the American Airlines baggage claim office.

The woman who answered the phone surprised Jay with her response. “I was hoping you would call,” she said. The MDS logo on his portfolio brought back memories for her of her home being destroyed by Katrina and subsequently rebuilt by MDS. Jay accepted her gratefulness on behalf of all the volunteers who worked to rebuild her hope.


Don Yoder, McAllen Office Manager

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