Monday, December 31, 2007 - Local

An interesting article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel on what people can do to help! - Local:
"We always think someone else is going to do it,' he said. 'I feel like everyone is so caught up in the American dream of having all the shiny stuff that we don't even know our neighbors. The distractions are always there"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Short Update from Laura

Rain Rain go away!!

"Considering the monsoon-like weather we've been experiencing, it has been difficult to get any work done. We woke up with intent to work, but Randy advised us that our time would be better spent in New Orleans. We spent the day experiencing cajun foods, seeing the touristy sites, and shopping. We wanted to go on a tour of the city, but either the prices were too high or the companies weren't operating on Sundays. When we tried to go on a Mississippi River boat ride, that ship had (literally) already sailed.

We're all pretty frustrated with our inability to work, and attitudes and tempers are displaying this, but with any luck we'll be over that hurdle tomorrow. I'm sure much of the tension will be broken after we get some food, rest, and some work to keep us busy. Can't wait to see BonaResponds!!

Love and peace from MS,


Report from Laura from Pass Christian MS.

Laura McDowell one of our two main student leaders is already In Pass Christian MS. She went with a group the First Baptist Church of Olean. Here is her report:

I suppose since Mahar isn't here to do the blogging for me I wil have to give it a shot. The First Baptist Church of Olean has been working with BonaResponds to coordinate a trip to the Gluf Coast. On Thursday, December 2nd, 11 volunteers set out for Pass Christian, MS. I can't say much about the first couple hours of the trip because I was asleep, but I hear we ran into a bit of snow. Around 9:30 we stopped for breakfast in Erie.

The drive was more mundane than I care to talk about, and I'm sure than you care to hear about. Around 10:30 we got to Nashville, TN where we rented hotel rooms. The wake-up call came way too early, but by 8AM we had already had breakfast, devotions, and were on the road again. Besides a quick pit-stop for gas and lunch, we drove straight from Nashville to Pass Christian. We pulled into Randy's around 6:30, unpacked, got a quicke tour of the facilities, and headed across the newly finished bridge into Bay St. Loius fr dinner.

Although this is my 3rd time at Randy's I still got excited when we pulled in. It has been amazing to watch the place progress since our first time here a year ago. The kitchen/dining hall now has a pantry added onto it, the walls that Cindy, Mike, Terry and I painted white have now been decorated with inspirational and entertaining sayings and drawings from various groups, there are about 40 signs hanging in front of the camp (where BonaRespond's was the first!), and Randy and Deb's trailer has a garden.

It was nice to see Randy again, but he seems pretty drained. I think he's glad he's getting out. Even though he is a little rough around the edges, there is no denying that the guy does good work and has helped countless "prisoners of Katrina." I hope the camp does so well after he leaves.

After dinner in BSL we got some groceries, and headed back to Randy's for devotionals. The message focused on keeping a servant's heart, an open mind, and being flexible. About half of us are between 17 ad 25 years old, and the rest are between 45 and 65, so the group dynamic is fairly interesting. We have one man who ran a business doing extremely detailed woodworking (about as intricate as building watches) and at least 3 people with virtually no construction experience. However, everyone is very eager to work hard so I'm sure everything will work out.

A trip to the Gulf Coast has yet to be a catstrophy yet, so here's hoping!


Friday, December 28, 2007

What to bring and other details of the trip

Hi all...

29 of us are going to Pass Christian MS this coming week. I have been very remiss in getting details online. So here goes:

We will leave at 10:30 AM on January 2nd from Murphy on the West side of Campus.

We will return on January 12. We are taking 3 vans (4 people will be meeting us there).

What to bring:
  1. A good attitude
  2. Work clothes (jeans, long sleeve tee, short sleeve tee, sweatshirt, workboots (ideally steel toed).
  3. Gloves
  4. Sleeping bag (pillow if you want one--yoga block works great and is smaller)
  5. A pair of shorts would not be a bad idea
  6. Flashlight
  7. cell phone charger
  8. Ipod hookup for van if you have one (we do not have a CD player in vans!)
  9. warm clothes to sleep in
  10. towel
  11. toiletries etc (contacts, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc)
  12. water bottle
A limited amount of money will be needed for when we stop on the trip and if we get a chance to go sightseeing on 1/2 day.

There are shower facilities and a place to do laundry.

Space in vans will be at a premium so please travel as light as possible.

Should have had a tetanus shot within 5 years.

There should be limited internet access, but no guarantees. | 12/25/2007 | Post-tornado gifts overwhelm Greensburg | 12/25/2007 | Post-tornado gifts overwhelm Greensburg:
"A group of young people from Mississippi -- victims of Hurricane Katrina -- drove all the way to Kansas in the summer just to provide a crawfish feed for the folks in Greensburg. On July 4, the PigMasters -- a group of barbecuers from North Carolina -- hosted a reunion for all the displaced residents and roasted 10 pigs for the town.

A high school student from Enterprise, Ala., who survived a tornado that ripped apart his high school and killed eight students, drove to Greensburg with a load of 500 or so books because he read that the Kansas school lost its library. Getting the books for Greensburg was his Eagle Scout project."
Also there was a nice NPR show on Greensburg.

Still feel guilty we didn't go.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More pictures from Franklinville are now online

Jessie Jr.
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
This is Jessie. He was burned in the fire but is doing much much better :) Yeah!

There are now over 100 pictures of the work to renovate his new home. See the full set here.

Not BonaResponds, but similar benefits

Feeling down? Read this. And while you do, try to think about how similar BonaResponds is. True BonaResponds does not do things for money, but the same idea holds.

In this case church members are given $50 each and asked to double it for charity. In doing so, many of the people found talents they did not know they had and felt good about themselves and had a purpose. It also shows that everyone has some talent that can be shared!

Ohio Congregation Lives Giving Parable -
"But it wasn't the money; everyone said so. It was something else, something far less tangible but yet so very real. For seven weeks an almost magical sense of excitement and energy and camaraderie infused the elegant red-brick church on Bell Street, spilling over into homes and hearts as the parable of the talents came alive.

In her sun-filled studio on Strawberry Lane, Shirley Culbertson felt it _ a joyful sense of purpose that she had rarely experienced since her husband passed two years ago....

Church members who never knew each other have become friends"

Want that same feeling? Join BonaResponds on our next service day or trip!

Jen passed this one along. It is pretty cool.

Update from Franklinville

We just got back from another good day up in Franklinville helping the Krytus family.

We had ten volunteers and worked mainly on the upstairs ceilings. Made good progress!

A few quick points of interest:

* First song on radio when we turned it on this morning: "I will survive", which somehow seemed very fitting.

* The family received a very generous donation of almost $7000 of carpeting, cabinets, tiles, and bathroom furnishings. They will likely allow the house to be completed!

* I purposely drove by the mall on the way home. Being the last Saturday before Christmas it was packed. I actually felt sorry for all of the stressed out shoppers inside. I virtually guarantee they would have been happier and made for a much better Christmas had they opted to come volunteer. I guess we'll just have to show more people how beneficial volunteering can be.

* We took about 12 boxes of donations to the family. From clothes baskets to coffee mugs and plates to pillows. Thanks to those who donated!

* Mark January 18th on your calendars! It is the tentative date for a fund raiser for the family. It will be a snow tubing event (not sure what you call a snow tubing event but an event) in Ellicottville. A BonaResponds half work day and half snow tubing day may be called for!

* Jessie Jr. was there for a bit today. He is doing MUCH better. His father is still under sedation and has a probable infection but is breathing on his own and doing better than a few weeks ago.

* Lynn (Jessie Sr's aunt and one of the main organizers of the efforts) was again very thankful for the help and told us repeatedly that after this is completed, she is joining BonaResponds :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A message from Franklinville

Mary from Franklinville emailed the following to us. Can we help?

I spoke to Lynn and we figured it would cost between $200 – $300 to get the floor done. So whatever anyone would like to contribute towards that would be fantastic. The inspector is coming out tomorrow and we may still need some wiring done in the kitchen. Rob may not be able to come back to finish as he has something to do for a church that he promised would be done before Christmas. I guess he is being spread real thin right now as well. Lynn is picking up the lighting and the countertops for the kitchen this week. Once we get the go ahead on the wiring I can call a guy who will call his friends and they can do the dry wall, mud and taping (if given enough notice). Lynn is still trying to get the family in the house by Christmas as long as it is safe to do so. If the flooring isn’t done, that’s ok as long as they have a fairly decent functioning kitchen. We can work around the rest after Christmas.

Kitchen items is what I am thinking they need.
  • Crock Pots
  • cooking utensils
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • Cheese grater
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Towels
  • Laundry baskets

Things of that nature would be fantastic.

What do you think? I am available this weekend (Saturday or Sunday) and donating would really make a great Christmas present.

If you want to donate, email me. Also feel free to drop off any of the things mentioned (also Christmas lights etc since someone did donate a tree) or presents for the baby (Jessie is 2 years old) just drop off in Murphy--my office is 231 but odds are good I will not be there. Ask the Jenifer Spencer the upstairs Business Administrative Assistant to put in my office.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday's work day in Franklinville Postponed

Due to the snow storm, the Sunday 12/15/07 work day in Franklinville has been postponed. It will be made up (TBA).

Stay tuned here to see if we do go out locally to help with down trees and shoveling this weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Art Auction Notice Board

The following was submitted today to teh Notice Board. SInce many of you do not attend SBU, I will include it here as well:
BonaResponds Art Auction

When in Ohio after the flood, Clarence Austin donated some of his paintings to us. The artwork will be auctioned off and the proceeds split between BonaResponds and Mr. Austin.

In addition to teh artwork from Ohio, several local artists and even one who we worked with in Mississippi have donated paintings.

The auction will be at 7pm this Friday in the Hall of Fame Room in the Reilly Center.

It is free and open to all. (While you do not need to, a RSVP would DEFINITELY help us plan food etc. We have ZERO idea how many will attend. Email

You can also see the pictures and bid online (sort of) at


Also remember we are going to work in Franklinville this Sunday. We'd love to have more volunteers there! We will leave the Murphy Parking lot at 10:00. We hope to arrive back home around 3:00. The work is inside so we can go even if it is snowy.

Online Auction

Ok, so this is not the way I had this planned. But since it is the middle of Finals week and I still have to make an exam and correct etc, this will have to suffice.

Rules: If you want one of the paintings and can not come to the auction on Friday in the Hall of Fame in the Reilly Center, email us with the painting Number and the amount of your bid. Minimum Bid for all pictures here is $100. (remember the money is being split between BonaResponds and Clarence Austin who is an 83 year old WW II veteran who painted these pictures. He was flooded in Bucyrus Ohio's August flood. We helped him in October and he donated these pictures. (NOTE OTHERS HAVE DONATED PICTURES AS WELL. I WILL TRY TO GET THEM ONLINE ON THURSDAY)
Picture 1:

A nice Christmas present? The baby giving her bottle to a puppy.

Other pictures and how to bid is available here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

BonaResponds adopts a family still struggling after Katrina

Another great article/press release from Emily!

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds adopts a family still struggling after Katrina:
"“We hope to raise $25,000. When people tell me it is a lot of money, I have to correct them,” said Mahar. “It is a lot of money if we were asking just one person to pay it, but if we get many people, then it is really a very little amount of money. When we are in the field working, I often remind the volunteers that ‘many hands make light work.’ The same is true with respect to fundraising."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Video from Franklinville

This is also on GoogleVideo, but I will put it here since it will be easier to find for you.

We are going back this coming Sunday. With most of the students gone, we will really need the community's help. So why not give a few hours to help a family in great need.

If you want to see an unedited interview with Lynn the Aunt, it is available here. Remember it is unedited and the pictures are quite graphic, but it is well worth at least listening to and after the first 30 seconds or so, the rest is fine.

BonaResponds: Franklinville - a photoset on Flickr

BonaResponds: Franklinville - a photoset on Flickr: "Helping the Krytus Family; December 2007"

Jen added about 40 pictures from the work day at the Krytus house.

Also look for an announcement soon (maybe later today) that we will be going back next Sunday as well!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Laura holding Carrie up so she can reach the ceiling

BonaResponds worked with this weekend to try and get the Krytus family into a home following their horrible fire. Over sixty pictures are online so far. Coming soon a great video.

Updates on the Krytus family

The first from WGRZ channel 2 from Buffalo:
News - Volunteers Come Together To Help Fire Victims:
"Volunteers are giving a Franklinville family a wonderful gift this holiday season. Complete strangers spent their Saturday fixing up a home for the Krytus family who lost their previous home to a fire the day after Thanksgiving"

Four of the volunteers today were from BonaResponds (more in a second on that), on Sunday we will have many more there.

Then a health update from the Olean Times Herald
"Ms. Krytus said her fiance is still heavily sedated and recently contracted pneumonia and a slight blood infection. He also has had two skin grafts. Little Jesse is also working on his recovery and has a daily whirlpool bath treatment at the hospital. Surgeons are discussing the possibility of a skin graft for his right leg.

In the meantime, Mr. Horbacz's aunt, Lynn Rosinski of Franklinville, has set up a bank account to help the young couple with their expenses."

What is the work like? According to Larry, the renovated house will be pretty nice eventually but definitely needs work. The house seemingly had been abandoned and the whole interior had to be gutted. With donations (the HomeDepot was particularly generous), new wiring, insulation, and drywall will be accomplished. Also the ground floor needs a new floor and the ceiling on the second floor has to be redone as the woodwork bulged due to extreme cold.

Both Larry and Bonnie said it had been a very productive day. Let's hope Sunday is too when we have the larger crew there. I am sure it will be!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Directions to the home in Franklinville

If you are coming with us (or want to meet us there) this Sunday, here is the location:

View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

BonaResponds Meeting this Friday

This Friday. 12:30 Aud C.

  1. Franklinville Trip on Sunday
  2. Art Auction--Dec 14
  3. Family adoption-NOW!!
  4. January Gulf Coast trip
  5. Spring Break Trip
  6. Advanced planning for Spring--Local service weekend (April 19-20?)

BonaResponds in the Bucyrus paper

Telegraph Forum - - Bucyrus, OH:
"During the university's five-day October break, BonaResponds traveled to Bucyrus to aid flood victims. Here, the group met Clarence Austin, an 83-year-old World War II veteran."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BonaResponds volunteer opportunity this Sunday!!!

BonaResponds will be teaming up with local volunteers to help fix up a home for this family.

WIVB TV: News, Weather, Sports for Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and all of Western New York | Father and Son Severely Burned in Franklinville House Fire:
"There isn't much left of the two-story home on Route 98 South in the Cattaraugus County town of Franklinville where a father and his son were injured in a devastating fire. State police say 29-year-old Jesse Horbacz managed to get out of the house with his two-and-a-half-year-old boy...."
We will be leaving at 10:00 AM on Sunday. We have reserved a University van. Hopefully we we will be back to campus around 3 pm so you can still study.

From Mary who is coordinating this:
"Sharon Krytus owned a house on 98 South in Franklinville. She and her
two boys [and} along with her daughter Sherry were in NYC for the
Thanksgiving weekend.

While they were gone Sherry's future husband Jesse, Sr and their son Jesse,
Jr were in the house when it caught fire. Jesse, Sr. searched to
find his son in the fire. The fire dept said that it looked like he had
gone in and out of the house at least 2 times. They could see where he
came out and rolled in the snow/dirt to get the fire off of him. He did
get his son out.

Jesse, Jr received 15% burns on his body. He was released from
Children's hospital last week and is now going through
whirlpool treatments. Jesse, Sr is at ECMC with 45% burns on
his body and has 2 skin grafts so far. He will be in the hospital for a
long time. Jesse,Sr and Sherry had recently bought a bankruptcy house
on Morgan Hollow and Oliver. Jesse was going to renovate it.

We are trying to get the money and materials [and volunteers] together for this rehab
and are praying daily that God will provide.

Directions: Take 5 mile to rte 16 towards Franklinville. Turn left onto
98 South. Go down 5 or so miles (This is not exact).
Morgan Hollow is shortly after the Town of Humphrey sign on the right
hand side. Turn right. Oliver does not have a street sign, but it is
the first right. We are hoping to get some signs made up. We will be
starting about 9 but what ever time you get there is fine.

Thank you so much for your help.


There was some really good TV coverage on Channel 2, here is a link.
Watch the video!

Stop and imagine this for a second: trapped in a fire but not leaving.
Looking around in the burning heat for your young son. Running out for
air and then rolling around in the snow to put out the fire.

then going BACK in. wow. What a hero!
We have a van etc., but if you want to meet us there, that is fine too. We will have hot chocolate etc but dress warm!

The address is 4558 Oliver Road, Franklinville NY.

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds to host art auction to aid victim of Ohio floods

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds to host art auction to aid victim of Ohio floods:
"BonaResponds will auction these paintings, along with others from local artists. There will be a total of approximately 20 paintings, with many starting at $100. Interested bidders may also offer sealed bids online in advance. (An online page, with previews of the paintings being auctioned, will be established at a few days before the auction.)....

“Of course we want to help Clarence,” said Jim Mahar, Ph.D., founder and leader of BonaResponds and assistant finance professor at St. Bonaventure. “And we want to help any of the thousands of families still waiting for housing across the Gulf. And we want to help more locally as well. Unfortunately, this all takes money. We have to strike a balance between all of these.”

“One of the hardest things I do is to say, ‘No, I am sorry, we can not help on such and such a project because we can not afford to do it.’ That is not a position I want to be in,” said Mahar. “Events like this are designed to assure that that doesn’t happen.”"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dinner Impossible: Hands-On version!

Have to confess I have never see this show, but Jerry did and said that has quite a bit on Hands On and footage from Pass Road. The dinner is in Yanqui stadium!

TV : Dinner: Impossible : Mission: Holiday Hope : Food Network:
"Mission: Holiday Hope In this one hour special, Robert will have less than seven hours to cook dinner for 1000 residents and volunteers of Biloxi--but there's more to this mission than just cooking food. This dinner is also a welcome home for one Biloxi resident who has been waiting to see her home for two years!"

Art Auction--December 14

Art Auction
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
Come help BonaResponds help others!!

It will be a great time and you can buy some art that will help us to help others.

Dec. 14th in the Hall of Fame room in Reilly Center.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tax Credits, volunteering, and SBU

Two things I do not want to turn this page into is a political or tax report, but this one really does have strong ties for BonaResponds, so I will at least point it out. It comes from Jerry Moran a congressman from Kansas. In a nutshell he is proposing making it easier/cheaper for firms to allow employees time off with pay to volunteer in the time of a disaster.

McPherson Sentinel's Sentinet - News:
"I[Congressman Jerry Moran] have sponsored legislation to compensate volunteers for their efforts. The Assistance for Individuals Delivering (AID) for America Act creates a federal tax credit for businesses that continue to pay employees while they volunteer in federal disaster zones. In Greensburg, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that more than 1,300 individuals have volunteered since May 4, the day of the deadly tornado. The work of these volunteers totals more than 26,000 hours. This legislation builds upon Kansans spirit of giving by allowing more individuals to take time off of work to volunteer during times of disaster."
While I am not sure what the financeprofessor side of me thinks on this one (I would like to think that such a policy is a positive NPV project even without the tax credit making the tax credit redundant) , I am definitely in favor of it from the position of wanting to make it easier to volunteer. Indeed, there is a proposal already on its way to the SBU board of trustees to enact some version of this at SBU.

I will keep you posted on the progress of both the bill in congress and the proposal at SBU.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Make someone's Christmas one to remember!

Thanks to Katie for putting together this great flier. We will be including it in some mailings and hanging them up around campus.

Pass Christian home rebuilding with Randy's Rangers

This was posted by some recent volunteers working with Randy's Rangers. It is well worth a look!

Pass Christian home rebuilding:
"October 2007 - Pass Christian, Mississippi Two years have gone by since hurricane Katrina decided to spin the wheel of fate with the lives of residents of the gulf coast. Everyone knows how New Orleans flooded when the levees broke; horrible stories. Just 45 miles east of the big easy lies Pass Christian, or what's left of it. Pass is on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and Saint Louis Bay. Katrina made landfall here and sent a 27-foot surge of water washing over the peninsula removing houses, buildings, trees and animals."
and near the end:

"For me, I've decided. While there is a valid debate over what our collective government should do, it's clear what I as an individual should do. Helping rebuild Andora's house was the right thing to do. I choose how I spend my energy, and helping another human reclaim their home is the right thing to do. Perhaps the building of these houses will become a personal mandala, washed away in some future storm. So be it. The journey is what's important."

Several videos and even a picture of the BonaResponds sign! :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Some pictures of the family we are adopting

Deb and Randy of Randys Rangers sent the following pictures of the Whavers family. More details will follow, but wanted to get these online"

Quotes from recent interviews

Just to increase those getting all of this, I figured I would take a page out of Mark Cuban's playbook and post directly to the blog as well...From various interviews...and just some quotes I have used today in telling people about BonaResponds:

On the December 14th art auction
* "Clarence gave us the paintings as a means of showing how grateful he was for the assistance. He did not know we were going to give him some of the proceeds. In fact he did not even know we were going to have an auction."

* "Of course we want to help Clarence. But we also want to help the Whavers. And we want to help any of the thousands of families still waiting for housing across the Gulf. And we want to help more locally as well. Unfortunately, this all takes money. We have to strike a balance between all of these. I confess one of the hardest things I do is to say "no, I am sorry, we can not help on such and such a project" because we can not afford to do it. That is not a position I want to be in. Events like these, and I would add the Online shopping through GoodSearch as well, are designed to assure that we do not need to say that much."

*"Working with others, here or where ever we are helping, is a great great thing. I am unable to put it into words, but on so many levels it is beneficial. It helps the victim, the volunteers, the community. The victim is helped back to his/her feet, the community is improved. As for the volunteers, the students mature while older volunteers stay young. It really is a win, win, win. Donating to encourage this is a no-brainer."

* "The art auction (Dec. 14) is a great way to buy some great artwork while also helping to fund future BonaResponds events. When you are buying a donated piece of art all of the money will be put to a good use. Whether it is helping Clarence to add insulation to his house, or to pay for breathing masks in the Gulf coast, the money will have a lasting impact."

"The art auction as well as the "adopt a family" program are really a means of you helping us to help others. Without your help, we can not help others."
On the Adopt a family program.
*"If you are not excited about this one, check your pulse. We are basically trying to get a family into a house. The Whavers are from Pass Christian. A grandmother, a mother, and two children. Still living in a FEMA trailer two years after the storm.

The story is probably longer than you want to hear now but the Cliff-notes version is that the mother works as a security guard and makes less than $10 an hour and they need a house. Sure they probably made some questionable decisions--they started rebuilding without having enough money to finish it and they are building a larger house than most charitable agencies will pay for, but is that reason to leave them? I think not. At some level stepping in and helping people like this are why I think there will always be a need for grass roots volunteer agencies. We can actually investigate on a case by case basis and not merely go by a formula that says who does or does not get help. They clearly need the assistance. To be able to help and to not at least try is something that I am not willing to do. "
* "We hope to raise $25,000. When people tell me it is a lot of money I have to correct them. It is a lot of money if we were asking just one person to pay it, but if we get many people, then it is really a very little amount of money. When we are in the field working, I often remind the volunteers that "many hands make light work". The same is true with respect to fund raising. Getting more people involved will allow us to have a big impact. We all can afford to donate a dollar or two. If we all do that, then it just becomes a matter of getting more people involved. Suppose we get the entire Olean metro area involved? Or better all of WNY. It is literally pennies per person. And those pennies can have a big impact."

On the need for fund raising in general:
"If you think about this from a economic perspective, burdening student volunteers with costs is not an optimal strategy. It is not something that I want to do. I think rather recovering from a disaster is a case of everyone pitching in to help. Some people have the ability and desire to help with manual labor, others to be there to cook, drive, or just listen to the victims. Still others, be it for job, family or time issues, can not volunteer on every trip. But these people play an important role too. They can help fund the trips.

I really am a big believer that the volunteers should not have to shoulder the whole burden. We are asking them to give up their time, the least we can do is to assure that they have a place to stay and food to eat. Your donations and purchases assure that we can continue to respond to people in need; locally or across the country."

* "many have the mistaken idea that we are funded through the university. We are not. We are all volunteers, no excuse me, I think 3 or 4 students are paid a small amount--I think for 4 hours a week, plus our two student leaders get funded some through the Journey Project. But other than that we are all volunteers. We have to pay for supplies, tools, gas, etc."
On other things:
* "Why don't more faculty/staff get involved? I really do not know. Some are too busy, some do not think they would like it, or could be any help. They are wrong of course. Everyone can do something. And almost all of it is fun. If for no other reason than you can actually see something accomplished. "

Question: what one thing could anyone do to help BonaResponds more than anything else?
Answer: One thing? ok, but I am going to cheat. In the short run, we need drivers. Or money that can purchase an insurance rider to let more people drive. It has become a big problem. Getting drivers is huge. So probably that is in greatest demand right now.

But before I shut up, I want to add to my answer. The longer and better answer is to get involved. I do not even care how, but get involved.

From helping on the ground on our next trip (planned or unplanned), to helping with fund raising, to donating a painting, to fixing our van for free, to agreeing to pay gas for a single stop, to making a video for us, to donating a GPS system, to donating money, to you name it.

I really do not even care. Just get involved. You will migrate to where you are needed most. But just be open to helping and show up for some of our events. Or email us. I do think you will get out of it more than you put in.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A letter of thanks to volunteers from the Gulf : LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
"They came by the hundreds, then the thousands. God had heard and we were thankful. They came - firefighters, military, police officers, doctors and nurses, linemen and engineers, truck drivers and preachers. They knew. They came. They all came. The whole world came and were were thankful. They came and suffered with us. They came and lived in tents, slept on the ground, but they came and we were thankful. They clothed us and fed us. They sheltered us and tended our wounds. They lifted our hearts and we were thankful. They came with full hearts and open hands..."
A very nice letter to the editor from Rita Duffus writing in the SunHerald from Biloxi.
You really should read the entire thing! It is down a ways, but it is there.

HODR Update: Not going to Mexico

Bill writing for

Hands On Disaster Response » MEXICO: Tabasco Flooding Assessment:
"The response from the Government of Mexico and state of Tabasco is efficient and comprehensive. The resiliency of the people affected by the flooding to clean out their homes and move forward is equally impressive. Prior to our arrival most homes that were flooded had been cleaned out and were being lived in once again, less than one week since the floodwaters receded."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Help BonaResponds While Shopping!

Ok, this is easy. All you have to do is click through this link and then shop at any of 100s of stores (Barnes and Noble, Best Buy,, Ebay, even Wal Mart. And if you select BonaResponds, the retailer will donate a portion of the sale (generally about 3%, but in some cases 5%, 9%, or even 25%) to BonaResponds!!

Support your favorite charity.

(on the menu, just type in BonaResponds for the charity (they call it who do you search for)).

Want more stores? How is this?

Home Depot, Dell, Office Max,,, Brookstone, Staples, American Easgle, Addidas, Nike,, BrooksBrothers,, Audible, even the Home Shopping Network. ANd MANY more!!

Really! It is that easy. Now I am not suggesting you go crazy buying stuff (people buy too much anyways for the holidays) BUT if you are going to do it anyways, do it through GoodShop and help us help others!

Come on and help us help others!!!

Support your favorite charity (BonaResponds!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

HODR news

Be sure to check out our sister (mother?) group. They are the former HandsonUSA we worked with in Biloxi. They are a GREAT group and I am proud to say we copied their model.

They are now working in Peru and Mexico. Also they have a very cool Aidgle (google site) that donates some of the revenue to HODR.

Speaking of search sites, we still do have the GoodSearch site. I had quit using it because of the quality of search, but it seemed better the few times I have used it of late. If you do not use the Aidgle site for HODR, why not try the GoodSearch site and be sure to enter BonaResponds for your charity of choice!

Monday, November 12, 2007

More info on BonaResponds trip to the Gulf

Had some questions on the trip, so here is some new info:

We are going to leave SBU on Jan 2. Will return on January 12.

We will be working in Pass Christian MS.

Mainly rebuilding the interiors of homes that were destroyed...

It will be really good...

A $50 deposit is due before Thanksgiving Break (if $ is an issue, let us know)...

The total cost of the trip is $199.

We will be traveling by vans.

not sure what else you need..

hope you can come!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jackson, MS: Gulf Coast Mayors Meet in Capital City

WLBT 3 - Jackson, MS: Gulf Coast Mayors Meet in Capital City: "
Mayor Warr says without affordable insurance, builders are charging significantly higher rates to build on the coast. And while both cities are financially stable, there are still many residents waiting on insurance checks or assistance from the government to help them rebuild."

A look at volunteers in Mississippi

Daily Pilot:
"More than two years after one of the deadliest storms in the country’s history, thousands remain displaced. Volunteers are helping repair homes, most of which belong to residents too old, too ill or too poor to move or rebuild after Katrina. This is the first in a five-part series.   Pascagoula, Miss., looks a little better every time Palm Harvest Church volunteer Mike King visits. Fewer FEMA trailers than last year dot each block of the small shipbuilding town on the Gulf Coast. The piles of rubble from Hurricane Katrina’s massive storm surge and sea waves the size of five-story buildings have been cleared. Street signs are back up. But Katrina left deep wounds.

The Breeze - Top Stories

Way to go JMU!!! :)

The Breeze - Top Stories:
"Two years after Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, JMU is sending 110 volunteers to New Orleans. Last Thanksgiving they gutted houses; this year they’re building them. The group will spend five days in the Ninth Ward, the residential area where homes were submerged in minutes after a levee broke, making it one of the worst of the areas hit by Katrina. The group of JMU students, in addition to faculty, family members and local high school students, aim to bring “some normalcy” to lives of the residents of the Ninth Ward, said Mary Slade, JMU faculty co-leader of her sixth Katrina relief trip"

Friday, November 09, 2007

Campus emergency training should happen quickly - Opinion

This is what BonaResponds has asked repeatedly to be involved in. Stay tuned

Campus emergency training should happen quickly - Opinion: "
Over the course of the Fall semester, there has been talk of improving campus
safety by alerting and educating faculty in proper crisis response. Last May, a
proposal to institute professional training for all faculty members was brought
to the faculty senate and approved"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

BonaResponds Gulf Coast trip Meeting

BonaResponds January Trip to the Gulf Interest Meeting 8pm Murphy AUD C Wednesday November 7th.

We will be working out of Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Leave Campus January 2, return January 12.

Places will be likely limited (there are fewer volunteer camps open plus transportation is difficult) so we will need commitment ($50 deposit) by Thanksgiving break. The first 6 faculty-staff members who are willing (and able) to drive can go free.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bridge is open!

"Here are photographs from the daylong dedication cermeonies surrounding the Biloxi Bay Bridge, held at the base of the bridge on Point Cadet in Biloxi, as well as images from the ribbon-tying ceremony conducted at the center of the bridge. Also included are early morning pre-ceremony photos of the bridge and Point Cadet Marina."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Next Gulf Coast Trip

Our next planned trip is to Pass Christian MS from January 2-12.

We are in desperate need of drivers. So if you can drive, we will reduce your travel costs by $100.

California Update-Final

After discussions with Darius and Bill from HODR who were in California to scout out possible jobs, we have decided to NOT deploy in response to the fires.

It is not that there is not work we could do, but the decision came down to the fact that our Thanksgiving break is short (we have class on Tuesday), the distance of the trip would force us to fly at a cost of about $400 per person for 4 days (and that assumes we work on Thanksgiving), and jobs are hit and miss with some fires destroying homes in an area while other homes were untouched next door. Coupled with the fact that many of the homes are beyond what we could help with (either totally gone or too fancy for us to be of much assistance), we decided it would be best to stay and be ready to help in places closer to here.

Here is the HODR update from Bill.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

California Update

First from Yahoo: Calif. wildfire evacuees face hardships - Yahoo! News:

"With some of the worst wildfires dying down, many Southern Californians lucky
enough to find their homes still standing could nevertheless face hardships for
weeks to come, including polluted air, no electricity and no drinking water...."

Then from me: Spoke with Bill Driscoll today, HODR is also investigating going. They will scout out area and let us know. Stay Tuned.

Friday, October 26, 2007


The Bona Venture - BonaResponds could go above and beyond with more funding:
"As an independent financial entity, BonaResponds has strengthened St.
Bonaventure's reputation and bridged gaps between the university as well as
communities near and far. Imagine what this group could do with more funding and

BonaResponds on the SPCA Web site

There is a nice picture of us on the Cattaraugus County SPCA web site.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Update

No decision has yet been made. While there is undoubtedly much work we could do, travel costs may not allow us to do it. Here is a recap of the last few hours:

I spoke with Rob Hoffman this AM....I think he is the SBU alumni president for San Diego. (and a former XC runner!) His family was evacuated two days ago, but allowed back in last night,. They now have two families living with them. One family lost their house to the fire. The other family has not lost their house, but is not allowed back into their neighborhood yet.

He was at work but only about half of the people could make it in.

He said the air was full of ash (making running impossible) and that he would keep his eyes and ears out for jobs if we do go.

Here are a few articles to see what is happening there:

The Washington Post comments on how smoothly things are going in spite of having nearly a half of million people displaced.
"Officials are calling these some of the worst wildfires that San Diego County has seen in modern history. More than 500,000 people have been forced from their homes. But there is also a unique feel to this natural disaster, a distinctly California style, and it is not just the constant presence of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the TV screens. Meaning: California is dealing with it. Automated "reverse 911" calls were alerting residents to mandatory evacuations. Shelters opened almost immediately"
Both Time and the Christian Science Monitor report that FEMA is doing a much better job this time around. From Time:
""I think there's no question that a couple of lessons from Katrina we're putting into effect here are, first of all, planning and preparation in advance for these kinds of challenges," Chertoff said in a press conference. "Second, we have really flooded the zone as quickly as possible by staging assets to deal both with the firefighting issue and the response issue." Chertoff cited cooperation with the defense department and state authorities with helping battle the fire."
Yahoo has hundreds of pictures of the fires. This one in particular is amazing.

Here are some other California fire links that I have been following on my RandomTopcis2blog.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fund Raiser--chicken wing eating contest

BonaResponds was named the recipient of money raised at a local chicken wing eating contest! The contest will be held at Third Base (on State Street in Olean) tonight!! October 23. 7-9pm.

Go have some wings and help fund the next BonaResponds project!

Fires in California

A couple of BonaResponds' volunteers have asked if we would be going to California. The best I can say right now is "Maybe".

Laura and Carrie will be investigating it. Problems include distance and what we can actually do if we were there. Fires destroy homes. IF we do go, a small group would likely go over Thanksgiving break. Given the distance and time we would have to fly. Stay tuned! Worldwide:
"At least 576 homes and 102 commercial buildings have been destroyed and more than 15,000 additional homes are threatened, she said. In San Diego, an estimated 250,000 people were evacuated,"

Monday, October 22, 2007

Victims of Ohio floodings thank students and welcome their help - Opinion

Victims of Ohio floodings thank students and welcome their help - Opinion:
"For BonaResponds, every trip is different. Different disasters. Different jobs. Different victims. Most of all, different stories. We might be prepared physically, armed with the right tools, equipment and protective clothing and gear, but we can never be mentally prepared for the people we meet and the stories they tell. Clarence, 83, is a victim of the August floods that devastated several Ohio counties. As a blind retired veteran, he is on a tight budget."

Great article Em!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Under the trailer

Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
How many people can you see in the picture? I finally got around to uploading some of the other pictures from Ohio. This is what it was like under the trailer.

There are over 260 pictures online here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

From Slidell to Greensburg

Disaster News Network :: Reporting disasters and response efforts:
"Those who traveled to Greensburg expected to work on individual homes similar to the work done by volunteers who come to Slidell. Instead, they found themselves constructing two 30-by-40-foot buildings that will be used to house tools and materials for the rebuilding effort in Greensburg and other Kansas communities affected by the twister."
An interesting article on a church group from Slidell now helping in Greensburg

HODR in Peru

Have you seen this? It is really good/funny.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Favorite

My Favorite
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
BonaRespinds and HODR brought together via this picture :)

The shirt is filthy and it was under a long sleeve taped down shirt! More pictures of this job site are here.

A video of the day is here.

SBU's Disaster Relief Organization Rebuilds in Flooded Ohio | HNP Today Newsletter: October 10, 2007, Vol. 41, No. 20 | Publications | Holy Name Provi

A short article on BonaResponds-Ohio appeared in the Holy Name Province Newsletter.

SBU's Disaster Relief Organization Rebuilds in Flooded Ohio | HNP Today Newsletter: October 10, 2007, Vol. 41, No. 20 | Publications | Holy Name Province:
"BonaResponds aims to be a world-class organization whose mission is to help people in need, as well as to build better leaders and better communities. The group, comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents, is operated through donations. -— Emily Ciraolo is a St. Bonaventure student, class of 2008."

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.

Olean cemetery where vandals painted on many memorials

Maybe We can help? Sill trying.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A thank you from Ohio

Received the following from Carl from Bucyrus. We took out the drywall and carpeting in two and a half of his rooms.

"Dear Bonaresponds,
Thanks you so much for your efforts. I am an 58 year old man who is disabled and I am very grateful to have experienced such kindness. I appreciated all of your efforts with the damaged drywall.I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Interestingly he had told others of what we did and we then also got another job request, but I had to reply that we had returned to SBU.

Mini Local Day



12-3:30 (sign in 11:45-12:00). We will be hauling garbage, working in dirt, painting (weather permitting), and more (some details still being worked out).

Meet behind Murphy Building. Vehicles and drivers also needed.

It is going to be a short day plus many of our "regulars" will be taking Red Cross training, so we need new volunteers! Come dressed to work outdoors.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some more new pictures

I think I am up to about 100 pictures now. Many more to still come

No matter the size of the disaster

No matter the size of the disaster, it is still disastrous to those affected. Here we are reminded of that by a simple photo album that was largely destroyed by the water.

Mr. Perry Sings some good advice.

Mr. Perry Sings for Group
Originally uploaded by Nif.
Mr. Perry is the owner of the trailer who's cleanup was the dirtiest job I had done (see yesterday's blog entry). Here he sings to us after we cleaned up and got got ready to leave.

This picture was taken by Jen. It is one of over 280 other pictures from the trip that she uploaded.

Want to listen to Mr. Perry? Here is a video of one of his songs which serves as our send-off as well as a piece of good advice for us all.

BTW I will be uploading a few other videos of his songs soon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Where are you Mike Rowe?

This has to go to Mike Rowe. It just has to. And Mike, please come with us on our next trip!

BonaResponds Ohio - a photoset on Flickr

BonaResponds Ohio - a photoset on Flickr--

I rearranged the ordering so newest will be first. Here are more pictures.

Group Photo in Shelby Ohio

Group Photo
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
Here is our last Ohio Job. It was one of the dirties I have ever done. The hope owner (Mr. Perry) was very nice and a good singer (we will upload video later).

What a group and what a day!

Wow that was a day! I could easily write four of five articles, but the most visually telling is this story (with accompanying videos) of what may have been the dirtiest BonaResponds' job I have worked on. Definitely the dirtiest since March 2006. Actual pictures will follow, but the video shows, we might have Mike Rowe look like he was the cleanliness inspector at computer chip manufacturer. Wow were we dirty.

We we at a trailer in Shelby Ohio that had been flooded pretty badly. The carpets on the inside had to be removed but the really dirty work was under the trailer where insulation and other "debris" had to be removed. Wow. It was disgusting.

First you are in a dark, wet area with itchy fiberglass insulation (fortunately we were covered head to toe and taped into our clothes with masks etc on) all around. Add to it you had less than three free to moved around in and you get some small idea of what it was like. Bad? It gets worse. There was mud everywhere, bugs galore, and even the occasional skeletal remains of various wildlife (we think it was a raccoon, but maybe possum).

Add to the wonderful mix, despite the fact that it was announced the plumbing had been disconnected, a volunteer decided to use the "facilities" when other volunteers were underneath the trailer with predictable consequences. In fact, here is Mike describing what happened:

But as they say in show business, the show must go on, so we continued (although a few did opt to work inside).

We got it done and then a neighbor who graciously allowed us to shower before getting in car and driving back to Olean.

Tomorrow we will be doing a partial day back in Olean (working on trails etc).

Here is us "calling out Mike Rowe" and inviting him to our next trip.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Quick recap

I am really tired, but realized I had no pictures and very little description of the day other than the audio posts, so a quick recap:

We broke into two groups again. But today rather than letting people pick which group they worked with, we broke into groups based off of what they were wearing. One team had all shorts, one team had all pants. (And of course this was started by the saying that was something like: anyone without pants is go with Jim, anyone with Pants go with Jerry).

The shorts team went to do two mold jobs (one in Gileon and one in Bucyrus). The pants team did a really tough job in Bucryus that involved removing insulation from a crawl space in what would be the basement for a blind 83 year old artist/WW II veteran.

While more may be forthcoming on the other jobs, the short version was that we were too fast for the jobs and the length of list we had. So in spite of many phone calls trying to line up more jobs, we called it a day about 3:30.

We then had a really fun few hours with football, poker, volleyball, running, and much good conversation. It was followed by dinner (spaghetti and guacamole), a birthday cake for Kaelin (sorry if I spelled it incorrectly!)a reflection (which was excellent), and an all hands meeting.

In the meeting we discussed the uncertainty of jobs tomorrow. What impressed me more than anything was when I told them this, rather than use it as an excuse to be done, the volunteers came up with new ideas. So tomorrow AM we will be helping around Camp Michael doing some roofing, landscaping, basic carpentry, and painting. In the afternoon we have a job in a near by town.

After the job we MAY head home where we will have an impromptu work day around Olean and on campus to finish up some jobs that have been on our plate for a while.

Overall I can not say enough good about the volunteers. We really have a great group again. For those of you who have never been on a trip, I again strongly suggest that you come on one. They really are fun and the people you help are just so grateful.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cell phone report from the field-Emily

A direct report from the field on what is happening, what it is like, and why you too should volunteer!

Cell phone report from the field--Lynn

A direct report from the field on what is happening, what it is like, and why you too should volunteer!

Cell phone report from the field--Jen

A direct report from the field on what is happening, what it is like, and why you too should volunteer!


Really cool story today from Jerry's Group. They helped an elderly gentleman remove insulation. In return he gave BonaResponds about 10 signed pictures that he had painted prior to his blindness got too severe.

We are debating what to do with the pictures, but currently think we will be auctioning at least some of them off to raise money for future trips.

More details to follow.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Cell phone report from the field

A direct report from the field on what is happening, what it is like, and why you too should volunteer!

Cell phone report from the field--Sean Ryan

A direct report from the field on what is happening, what it is like, and why you too should volunteer!

Removing garbage from the basement

Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
Good day today. Got quite a few homes done overall.

Here Jen and Mike haul garbage up the stairs to carry out.

Here are more pictures from the trip.

Camp Michael in ohio

Camp michael in ohio
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
This is where we are staying. It is WAY out in the country but very very nice. Kitchen, bathroom facilities, and a very nice "out there".

Cell phone report from the field by Carrie

A direct report from the field on what is happening, what it is like, and why you too should volunteer!

Friday, October 05, 2007

BonaResponds in the news

From Today's BV

On the Ohio Trip:
"While many students will spend their midterm break hanging out with old friends, relaxing and enjoying the comforts of home, volunteers from BonaResponds will rebuild communities in Bucyrus, Ohio.

Floods swamped nine counties in north-central Ohio in late August when water forced thousands of residents to evacuate and left at least 500 homes uninhabitable."
Bob's Woods Trail:
"Bob's Woods...has recently been cleaned up by BonaResponds to make a new path in memory of Father Bob [Stewart].

Father Bob died in 2001 after a fight with cancer, leaving behind his beloved legacy. Besides being an Italian language professor at St. Bonaventure, Father Bob is remembered both for the great friendships he forged and his pleasure of athletic activities."
Students may not be politically aware, but at least they're socially responsible - Opinion:
"Not only do their actions improve the lives of others, they do fantastic PR for the university. Admissions officials have noted how many students were attracted to Bonaventure because of BonaResponds' service."

Test of uploading from phone

Just a test of the system

Bucyrus, Ohio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Looking for some info on Bucyrus?

Bucyrus, Ohio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"As of the census of 2000, there were 13,224 people, 5,559 households, and 3,552 families residing in the city"
Weather from

Click for Bucyrus, Ohio Forecast

Thursday, October 04, 2007

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds helps Colorado student choose St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds helps Colorado student choose St. Bonaventure:
"St. Bonaventure wasn’t a consideration, said Feeley, until she read about BonaResponds’ cleanup efforts in tornado-ravaged Enterprise, Ala. She saw the kind of immediate impact a group like BonaResponds can have"
What a cool article on Anna! Way to go :)

Update: Anna needs injured her shoulder in Rugby and will be missing the Ohio trip, but will assuredly go on other trips with us! Get well soon!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thank You! Thank you! Thank you!!

While by no means an exhaustive list (and I apologize upfront if I missed anyone), we have received several nice donations to help us on the Ohio trip and in future events.

Gifts of over $100 in since the start of the school year:
  • Bob Keenan--used tools. These tools will be used many many more times. It should be noted that some of these tools were those of SBU legend Leo Keenan.
  • The Coates--for tools
  • Pat Mahar--for Bob's Woods
  • The Magieras
  • First Baptist Church of Olean's Vacation Bible School
  • The Retired NYS Troopers Association--for "John's" house.
  • Emily Sinsabaugh
Additionally I want to single out two local retailers who have been very generous with both donations and selling many items at cost:
  • Park and Shop in Allegany (Ok so I might influence that one a tad ;))
  • Worth W. Smith in Olean.
Without the support of all of you, BonaResponds would only be a "good idea"

Ohio Updates

Things are firming up very nicely. As mentioned yesterday we will be working in Bucyrus Ohio.

As Bucyrus has about 100 homes that have not been cleaned out yet,
the work has changed slightly. Before the actual gutting can begin, everything has to be removed . So for the first few days it will be cleaning and hauling and "mucking" out houses in order to see what can and can not be saved. Additionally we will likely be on "Mold crews".

We will be staying at Camp Micheal about three miles outside of Bucyrus. It has cots, bathroom facilities, a shower, and a kitchen.

Here is a map to the site:

View Larger Map

We will leave SBU (Murphy Lot) at 5:00 PM. PLEASE be there to pack vans etc at 4:45.

We may have some free time on Saturday night if people want to go to a movie etc. so try to bring some spending money as well.

Here is a checklist of what we recommend you bring
  1. Work clothes--the older the better.
  2. Sleeping bag
  3. Work boots
  4. "Baseball" hat
  5. Gloves--work gloves and rubber gloves (some places have them available, but having a comfortable pair is well worth the money!)
  6. Protective eye wear and air masks (N-95 rated)
  7. Undergarments, a towel, and a pillow
  8. Flash light and cell phone charger
  9. Clothes--one or two changes of clothes (you will have to adjust to wearing dirty clothes some of the time--it's not a fashion show.
  10. Antibacterial hand sanitizer,"Baby Wipes", suntan lotion
  11. Food: while it is provided, having a few Energy bars and instant oatmeal etc will help you get by in a pinch.
  12. Reusable water bottle
  13. Spending money: there will be very limited chances to spend money, but the bus will be making some stops on the way down and back.
  14. A willingness to have fun while working hard! Probably the most important thing the bring!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bucyrus Bound


We will be working in Bucyrus Ohio.

View Larger Map

The number one rule behind BonaResponds is to help people. I am not sure what other rules we have but I would venture that the number 2 rule is to be flexible. Plans change. Things do not work out as planned.

So it when I heard from the volunteer coordinator who asked if we had any great preference of where we were working. I explained we did know some people at Findlay, but that the biggest criteria had to be put us where we could do the most good. She explained that was Bucyrus, so that is where we will be going.

The work sounds challenging but I am sure it will be rewarding as well.

Details as to when and where will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday).

Bob's Woods Opening

Here are some pictures of Bob's Woods.

While the quality is not perfect, it is not that bad. It is about 23 minutes.

(the video accidentally got shut off at the end, so we have about 2 minutes on another video).
here is the second part

Bob's Woods Opening ceremony

Monday was the official opening of Bob's Woods. There was a ceremony that was held in conjunction with Francis Week. Brian McAllister, Pat Panzarella, and Fr. Dan Reilly spoke eloquently on the great man that Fr. Bob Stewart was. We will upload pictures and a video shortly.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ottawa Flood Relief, a New beginning for our town and county

Jennifer Davis sent the following link. It is a web site devoted to Ottawa Flood Relief.

Ottawa Flood Relief, a New beginning for our town and county:
" To provide the quickest means to finding the relevant flood related info and
point people via telephone numbers, web addresses and volunteer contacts to get
the help to the people who need it, as well as show and explain succinctly to
the outside world the help that is desperately needed from the Ottawa
townspeople and surrounding severely flooded areas."

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds heading to Ohio

St. Bonaventure University: BonaResponds heading to Ohio:
"— BonaResponds, a volunteer-run disaster relief group out of St. Bonaventure University, will travel to Findlay, Ohio, during St. Bonaventure’s midterm break, Oct. 5 to 9, to help aid and rebuild communities devastated from severe flooding in August."

This was in the Olean Times Herald this morning as well.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Here are the links for the forms that must be completed for the Ohio Trip:

all of this one (and it needs a parent's signature) and pages 2 and 3 of this one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More pictures from Ohio

Tammy sent us some more pictures of the damage caused by the flooding:

Also the following info:
"At this time there are 8,143 FEMA registrations received in the 8
declared counties. Many homes were destroyed with foundations cracking
and some even collapsing. Where foundations were left in tack the mud
and sewer waters went as high as 4 feet into homes (not just basements).
This is only what I have seen from traveling and receiving reports from
FEMA. At this time we are hiring case managers who will be able to find
the families in the most urgent need of assistance. As of last week
FEMA has sent all referrals to me until the case managers are hired. I
currently have 24. One family has severe breathing problems (on oxygen)
and is trying to clean out her flooded basement. I have advised her to
STOP and not bring another molded item up to be cleaned. I am looking
for volunteers to help her A.S.A.P. Another family just purchased there
first home after 22 years of marriage. The home's foundation is now
collapsing from the extreme pressure of the flood water. Another family
has 5 children all of whom have been running back and forth to the
doctor with upper respiratory infections. " -- Ottawa schools weather flooding -- Ottawa schools weather flooding:
"About 170 Ss. Peter and Paul students in grades one through five are now attending school at Ottawa Elementary, while 124 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders have turned the gymnasium at Ottawa-Glandorf High School into their own self-contained junior high school. 'It's like staying at a relative's house,' Father Hemm said. 'We're all hoping we can move back home as soon as possible.' Insurance adjusters have suggested the flooded school may not be habitable for at least two months, but some have said it could be Jan. 1 before students and staff will be able to return."

Friday, September 21, 2007

A video from Findlay

Powered by AOL Video

Courier Electronic Edition - Findlay, Ohio: NEWS

This was in yesterday's paper

Courier Electronic Edition - Findlay, Ohio: NEWS:
"The flood of August 2007 most likely will go down in the record books as the worst flood in Findlay's history. It will be up to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to determine the extent of the flooding. The official report is due out in the spring, but looking at the raw data, Jim Sherwood, a hydrologist with the USGS, says the Aug. 21-22 flooding appears to have topped the flood of March 13, 1913 — the current record-holder."
Another article on the Ohio flooding reminds us that those who lived through it had a very stressful time:
"No one who sees disaster is untouched by it," said ODMH Director Sandra Stephenson. "Grief, sadness, shock and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event like the recent flooding. It's important for individuals and families to take steps to promote their own physical and emotional healing. Talk about what you are feeling with family and friends."

Stress caused by loss or a traumatic experience can sneak up on people, often appearing weeks or months following the initial trauma. Stress is often displayed in subtle but distressing behavior and emotions. The elderly and children are particularly vulnerable to stress after a disaster and may require special considerations."

And finally an article from Disaster News about some of the work:
"Olashuk said cleanup teams were still needed in the Putnam County city of Ottawa, especially teams with specialized heavy equipment. Volunteers there have already worked on more than 140 homes doing everything from removing appliances from the basement to ripping out sub-flooring, carpet and drywall."

Copy of email about Ohio Trip

Executive Summary: BonaResponds is going to help flood victims near Findlay Ohio from October 5th to 9th and YOU ARE INVITED!!! Meeting Monday September 24th 8pm in Murphy Aud.
(you can come for any part of the trip!)
Long detailed version: It is official! BonaResponds will be going to Ohio over fall break to help the flooded areas in north central Ohio.
And you are invited!!!
Come and find out more at our Monday meeting 8pm in Murphy AUD.
* When and Where? October 5 to 9th--We will leave early evening on Friday October 5th. We will return on the 9th. We will be setting up a camp near Findlay Ohio helping those who were impacted by the August floods.
* Is there a meeting where I can learn more? YES! We will have a meeting at 8pm on Monday September 24 in Murphy Aud.
* What will the work be like? From reports from people on the scene it seems much like the work 6 months after Katrina in Biloxi: a mix of gutting houses to putting up drywall and painting. There are all levels of work. We need volunteers!!! You can help and you will have fun!
* Why should I give up my weekend? It is the right thing to do. It is fun. You will be VERY glad you did!
And most importantly so will those you help! Other less valuable reasons include you will make new friends, develop leadership skills, it looks great on a resume, and it will make a great chapter in your autobiography.
* How much does it cost? Cost of the trip until September 25th from SBU $50 per person (this is for food and transportation). Must be paid before 9/25 (If you meet us there, $25 per person one time fee for one day or the entire weekend.
* Any special requirements? You must have had a tetanus shot within the past five years. If you are not a SBU student, you must be 18 or older unless a parent or legal guardian comes with you. Oh and you have to bring a flexible attitude. Things will not go as planned, but they will work out.
* Where will we sleep/eat/etc? Good question! Still working on that, but it looks like we will either be in a church hall or similar camp. We will have bathroom, shower, and kitchen facilities. We also will have a place to lay out sleeping bags.
* What should I bring? Living conditions will be quite primitive (sleeping bags etc.) Here is our list which may be modified when we learn more of what is needed. As a reference, consider the conditions like Biloxi six months after Katrina. So here is the list we recommended then.
* Can I see what it is like? Sure, some pictures are online now on our blog: We have been in contact with Suzanne English (a SBU alumna and formerly in PR at SBU who now works at Findlay College) who will be getting us more pictures and possibly a video. (She also invited us to a BBQ at her house when we are out there!) SO keep checking the blog for updates!)

* I wish I could go, but _____ (insert legitimate reason for missing it here--examples I plan on having open heart surgery that weekend). Well if you really really cannot go, you can help us market the trip, you can agree to be a leader of some other task we have (for instance recruiting alumni, lining up t-shirts, setting up next local day, etc). Leaders are always needed!
You could donate. We have tools to buy and the cost of travel and food is being subsidized by BonaResponds. The actual cost per volunteer is much higher. So donations will be gladly accepted to help defray the cost being incurred by BonaResponds. We will need to buy several hundred dollars of tools. So if you can't go, you can still help. Make checks to St. Bonaventure with a memo to BonaResponds. Mail to BonaResponds, C/O Jim Mahar, Box BY, St. Bonaventure NY 14778.
* Can I bring others? ABSOLUTELY!!! YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE ANY CONNECTION TO SBU TO COME. Bring your family and friends and make a weekend out of it! IN fact, forward this to those you think might come!
REMEMBER Meeting 8pm on Monday September 24 in Murphy Aud.
* What if I can not make the meeting? You can send the money to BonaResponds, C/O Jim Mahar, School of Business, Box BY, St. Bonaventure NY 14778. Also all volunteers must fill out pages 2 and 3 of this form. All Bona students must fill out this form. (it requires a parent signature so please plan accordingly!)
for more info please see our blog and for future updates
Hope you can all make it!!
REMEMBER MEETING 8pm Monday! Murphy Aud.
PS We apologize for the length, but please remember that not everyone in BonaResponds is on campus. Thus email remains the easiest way to get the information to you all.
PPS You can also see for reports on our trips to Bradford and our local service day