Saturday, October 13, 2007

Small victory for some, enormous victory for John

Need a pick-me up?

Remember "John"? He is the gentleman who lived in the atrocious conditions. We worked on his house each of the past two local days (July and September). You can read about the jobs here. Here is an excerpt:
"His house is as bad as many of those BonaResponds worked on in the months immediately following Katrina. The difference was that John lives in Western New York, less than ten miles from the idyllic Bonaventure campus, and the third-world living conditions were not made by any weather disaster.

I knew it was going to be bad. We had received many emails from his guardian angels (two local residents who have been looking out for John). I had seen the yard and the outside of the house. I knew it was going to be bad. I really did. I knew it was going to smell inside. I knew it was going to be a lot of work. But like in Gulf after the Katrina, knowing what the conditions and experiencing them are two totally different things.

Arriving at John’s house the size and scope of the job hit me hard. A team four times our size would be needed to finish the job. I was overwhelmed. I was discouraged. How can we get this much done? Just the work outside would take a much larger team days to complete in the best of conditions. But the longest journey begins with a single step, so we started...."
Well today we went back to his house. We helped to haul away garbage (paid for through a donation by the Retired NYS Troopers association). Greg and his friends have done a wonderful job. There is now a functioning toilet and by the end of the weekend there will almost assuredly be a shower too. He has hot and cold water. The house, while still remarkably cluttered, no longer smells.

Sure the house needs a paint job. Yeah he should throw out about a million more things, but at least he has a toilet. At least he can get in and out of the house without fear of the porch collapsing.

On the way back from the house we were talking, that this was not a fun job. It was not exciting. But it was just as important as any we have done. To John, it was more so.

And again a special thank you to Greg. You have to be a saint. Without your efforts John would be still living in the unsafe conditions you found him in.

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