January 28, 2023
Paradise, CA – Jan. 21-28, 2023
This week we welcomed some new crew leaders: Lauren King from Ohio and John Stutzman from Montana. Alice Wolfgang also joined us as a cook. Dave and Patti Hughes continued as Project Director and Office Manager, as did Construction Supervisor, Leon Martin, and his wife, Marlene, our other cook. Our weekly volunteers arriving from Pennsylvania were eleven young men.
A team of volunteers went to the home of Lorraine Dechter on Scottwood Road to move some soil around so the property slopes correctly. We are nearly finished at this house and it is scheduled to be dedicated next week.
We worked on drywall finishing at Robert Ream’s house. Three coats of drywall mud were applied and sanded. Then there was a good cleanup at the end of the week.
At Randy Loomis’ home on Tahoe Court wheelbarrows and shovels were employed to move dirt around and correct the slope of the property.
The majority of our volunteer hours were spent at Merrill Road working on the house being built for Gloria and Jeremiah Reyes. The exterior walls were completed on Monday and the trusses went on Tuesday. This was followed by sheeting on walls and roof. On Friday afternoon the volunteers mixed and poured 19 bags of concrete for the back porch. It was curing slowly, so John Stutzman stayed behind to finish it. It turned out very nice, though the weekly volunteers didn’t get to see the end result. Next week we will continue with the remaining interior walls, porches, and roofing.
The other house we worked on will be for Bill Kellogg. The excavating is yet to be done at his Scottwood Road address, but that did not hold us up. We have access to a warehouse in nearby Oroville where the crew went to lay out and build the walls. When the foundation is ready, this will go together quickly.
It was a beautiful sunny week in Paradise, which made it possible to do so much outdoor work. Try to imagine a drive around the town of Paradise four years after the Camp Fire raged through: You will see vacant lots all around, with sunken areas where the houses once stood and maybe a rock garden, patio, or lamppost. Blue portable toilets line the residential streets, indicating where home construction is going on. Often the traffic is held up by flaggers with their stop/slow signs to protect the many utility workers who have dug up the streets. In the commercial districts, signs at the roadside are all that remain of many businesses: restaurants, stores, a car wash…plumber. Even some churches are gone, burned to the ground. Most of the burned trees have been removed, their stumps marked with blue paint, numbering their loss. But how can you count the losses suffered by the residents who lost all their possessions, and in some cases, their loved ones?
The Paradise MDS Team