Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coming Events

When many of us will be going to Bridge City to help with hurricane recovery, there will still be things happening locally.

The Driscolls (of HODR and formerly of PerserveVolunteer fame) will be traveling from New Hampshire to continue the work on Ed and Donna's house in Friendship on January 5-8. It would be really great to have some BonaRespond volunteers there too!

Our Spring Break trip (probably to Texas) will be Feb 27th to March 8th. All details are still being worked out.

We will continue to have work days most weekends in January and February as well as our large work Buffalo work day on March 28th in conjunction with Villa Maria.

Our large local spring service weekend will be April 25-26th.

But these are just a few of the many events we will be having! Get involved. You will be glad you did!!

New BonaResponds Window Display

Thanks to Nolan who helped reorganize the window display at the Allegany Park and Shop using the pictures that Laura and Ashley had already put up. It looks really good!

Bridge City Family Gets Birthday Wish | KBMT ABC 12 - News, Weather and Sports - Beaumont - Port Arthur, TX Beaumont - Port Arthur, Texas | Local News Top Stories

Bridge City Family Gets Birthday Wish | KBMT ABC 12 - News, Weather and Sports - Beaumont - Port Arthur, TX Beaumont - Port Arthur, Texas | Local News Top Stories:
"Twins Morgan and Macy had a wish to move back into their home on their birthday after damage from Ike made it unlivable.

Morgan and Macy's wish came true with the help of World Hope International, Community Church Orange and so many volunteers.

World Hope International has been in Southeast Texas since September helping folks clean up. and says getting the Leblanc family back in their home is only the beginning."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

dry wall done for month.

dry wall done for month. rooms they wanted done now are done. :) thanks volunteers! good day.

Good day. about nine people

Good day. about nine people working all stages of drywall. in friendship

Friday, December 19, 2008

BonaResponds: a pictorial history

Collection: BonaResponds: Just put together a collection of some of the nearly seven thousand BonaResponds pictures of the various events we have had.

I am not really sure what order they are in, but it is a nice pictorial view of some of what BonaResponds has done since its founding right after Katrina hit in late August of 2005 through the current work in Friendship. Take a look!

Progress update from Friendship

Hallway almost drywalled
Originally uploaded by FinanceProfessor.
Uploaded some pictures from Ed and Donna's over in Friendship.

Things are coming along well. A lack of volunteers has slowed progress, but every day is that much closer to getting them out of their 24 foot camper and into their new house!

The current plan is to have half the house livable before the New Years. Right now we have the drywall hung in the bathroom, the hallway, and the back laundry room. It still has to be mudded etc.

Next will be to do the ceiling in the bedroom. The walls of the bedroom will be boarded/paneled as will the lower half of the hallway. Earlier this week we helped Ed cut some of the boards that will serve as the panels (in order to save money, they purchased lumber that still had to be ripped and then cut into tongue and groove panels. The longer boards for panels have to be cut with another saw but it was too heavy to move given few volunteers this week.

The living room and kitchen will be done later (after the New Year's). Then over the next six months (depending on money) the second floor will be done. That will be turned into another bed room and a room for storage etc.

Take a look at the pictures, the place is definitely taking shape.

As mentioned last week via Twitter, the family is sleeping in it now and are very excited to be partially out of their old camper. The plumbing is partially working. The laundry in the back is set up and the main plumbing for bathroom is done, but nothing is yet set up (toilet, shower, etc).

I hope we can get more volunteers! You don;t know what you are missing. It really is a great project and Ed and Donna are some of the nicest people I have met. To work with them has been great.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why volunteer in a single sentence

It is about the Eight Days of Hope Volunteers, but could be said equally of any volunteer.

From In Cedar Rapids: 6 homes destroyed, 6 families coping | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register:
"I was reaching my ultimate low and when they showed up, my spirit changed., It just turned around. I have hope again.'

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas After Ike — The Story from American Public Media

Listen to this one. It is really good! An American Public Radio story on the recovery. Very interesting and sad. True it is not Galveston, but almost the same difference.

Christmas After Ike — The Story from American Public Media:
"It's been three months since Hurricane Ike - one of the most destructive hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. Like most of her neighbors on the coast near Galveston, Texas, Dana Bethune will be spending this holiday season camped out in someone else's home. Her home was destroyed, and has yet to be rebuilt.

This house was Dana and her husband Jimmy's dream house. Ike washed out the first floor and many of their possessions disappeared - refrigerator, paddle boat, treasured Christmas plates. Then Dana lost her job. As she tells Dick Gordon, it's been a tough season, but she's learned about her own faith and the generosity of her neighbors."

Good day.helped ed, ed, truman,

Had a good day working in Friendship. Helped Ed, Ed, Truman, and Shane. Mainly hanging drywall. Still have a long ways to go. Back laundry room about half done and the bathroom is almost done.

Ed also got most of the boards for lower walls cut and are now drying.

Plan on going back tomorrow afternoon, can you come? email BonaResponds@sbu.edu

hanging dry wall in back

hanging dry wall in back laundry room. they did bathroom this am. really looking good.

Letter to all Bridge City participants

I just sent the following to all going to Bridge City. It dawned on me however, that maybe more would go if they saw it as well. So in it's entirety with only very minor changes:


Thank you all for volunteering! We are up to about 25 volunteers going to Bridge City Texas. I am very pleased with this number given total lack of news (the election and the economy have taken all news time), the economy, and the fact that you are giving up your break time.

From the first trip to Biloxi immediately after Katrina to our recent trip to Iowa, BonaResponds volunteers have set a very high standard. I trust and expect this trip to be no different.

It was very impressive on the first trip when we first got there the other volunteers all sort of snickered when they saw a team of college students (mainly girls) and a bald finance professor come in. But by the end of the trip the same volunteers were so impressed with the work that we had several people offer to pay for us to stay longer. That is what I want again this trip.

Sure it will be fun. But please remember we are there to get people back in their homes. Over break, on Christmas or just whenever you get a second, consider what it would be like if you could not live in your home for the past 4 months with no sure timeline for you to get back in. That is what the people of Bridge City are facing. The more work we do the sooner they get back in their homes. We owe it to them to get them back in soon.

You are all leaders or you would not be coming on this trip. When we are there, act like it. Be the change. If something needs doing, do it. If someone needs a hand, be there to help.

While the work we accomplish is important, often times on these trips the most important thing we do is just to be there to listen. To work with the people affected. Remember that. Listen to their stories.

It will be a great trip. I have no idea of what to expect. But be flexible. No matter how much we plan things will change. We may end up doing dishes or doing drywall. But in either case we will be helping get the people back in their homes. And that is the best Christmas present they can get.

Ok, administrative stuff...VERY important:

We are still working out logistics on van etc which will no doubt be a challenge, but we will get it.
the direct link to the form for airport rides is available here:

I heard from Laura at the the Church of Christ Disaster Response team....many of you still have not signed up there. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do so ASAP.
the link to sign up with the Church of Christ group is here:

also their blog is here for more info.

We have VERY few permission slips etc yet as well. Given the university mail system basically shuts down around the holidays, it may be best to either email or be absolutely sure you bring them with you. I need them before you can do any work there.

for this and MUCH more see the blog entries for Bridge City at:

thanks! Have a great Christmas. Be sure to continue to watch the blog for updates and news.

See you soon!


PS if you know of someone who is not on this list but is going, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND FORWARD THIS TO THAT PERSON!!! "

From the Disaster Response team at the Church of Christ

This was from last week but...
"We're looking forward to you all being here!

We're still working on the same type of projects. We still have some gut out jobs, and a lot of drywall jobs. We are also still distributing supplies here at the community center if anyone is interested in helping here. We are also always in need of people to help input data into the computer.

So far only six [now of 25 so get signing up if you have not!!] Please make sure that all that are coming sign up right away, we have others wanting to come the same time period and we only have a certain amount of space. I've put the others on a waiting list. Please try to make sure that everyone coming registers by Dec. 20.

They will want to bring long pants and hard soled shoes to work in. Also the weather here has been crazy. The high today was 39 with rain, sleet and snow this evening. Yesterday it was 76. Tomorrow it's to be in the 50's and Friday in the 60's. So they should be prepared with different types of clothing.

We have air mattresses available, towels are also available so they really only need to bring a pillow, sleeping bag, toiletries and clothes. This is all in the email they receive as well.

here is a form that all people going on the trip must fill out:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ripping boards for finished walls.

Ripping boards for finished walls. moved some outdoor piles now back to working on boards. looks good. when done

Due to lack of volunteers

Due to lack of volunteers dry wall pushed back. working on sanding boards for walls and doing hall way

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Monday's Notice Board announcement

1. BonaResponds work day in Friendship, this Tuesday (12/16) 10-3:30. Email BonaResponds@sbu.edu if you want to come! We are VERY close to getting the family into their new home. Please come and help finish the project!

2. Still have a few spots reserved for the Winter trip to Bridge City Tx. I think we are at 23 volunteers. If you want to go, it must be done this week! See our blog for more info:

3. If you are going to Texas to help, please be sure to fill out all necessary forms and BE SURE TO NOTIFY THE PEOPLE FROM THE CHURCH OF CHRIST DISASTER RESPONSE group. THIS MUST BE DONE!!!
(see the blog for more info).

4. Buying anything online? Anything? Books, airline tickets, clothes, you name it. Go to GoodShop.com and enter BonaResponds for your charity. You will pay the same as you would, but we will get a small amount to. Just booked the trip to Texas and BonaResponds will be getting back $12 from one transaction!

5. The BonaResponds/Park and Shop SPCA collection was a big success. Several boxes of pet food, some laundry detergent, and many sheets and blankets were given. Thank you! (You can always drop off your donations for the SPCA at the Allegany Park and Shop and a BonaResponds member will take it to the SPCA).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

hall and one room insulated

hall and one room insulated and plastic on outside walls.still long ways to go. next workday tues come work w us!

One more room done and

One more room done and working on hallway. internally insulating. no dry wall yet prob tues or wed

Thursday, December 11, 2008

YouTube - Why Volunteer?

YouTube - Why Volunteer?

BonaResponds did not make this, but what a great video and some great quotes!

Volunteers Help Where FEMA Can't

I realize this is not from anywhere near where we will be working, but the idea is largely the same. The video says largely the same thing but in a slightly more interesting format.

Local Volunteers Help Where FEMA Can't:
"'I was about a day away from bull-dozing the place and just giving up on the whole thing,' said Lee Sadberry.

However, Lee didn't give up.....With FEMA saying no to flood victims, they are relying more than ever on the kindness of their neighbors.

'FEMA said they can't help us; the government said that they won't help us. We've got people living on fixed incomes; elderly; disabled; working poor.. that unless we help them.. unless we do this.. they will not get back into their homes,' said Bob Johnson of City Impact.

But more help is needed for these people to rebuild their lives.

'If you can lift a paint brush, or a hammer, carry a board, carry dry wall.. Please come out and help us as we try to get people's lives back together. I mean- this is the season of giving,' said Rev. Jeremiah Heydt, Chair of Wichita Falls Area"

On-going local community service

BonaResponds gets most of the publicity for its trips and large local days, but we also run several on going events. For instance currently we are working with the Allegany Park and Shop (yeah two organizations close to my heart) to help feed the poor and help the animals at the SPCA.

In the best economic times, some people need a hand, but with the economy bad even more help is needed. Unfortunately it is when the help is often least forthcoming. So if we all do a little, things will be ok.

It is in that spirit that BonaResponds and the Allegany Park and Shop have teamed up to run collections to help the local community. All you have to do is to drop the items off at the collection boxes at the front of the store and BonaResponds will make sure the donations get to their proper spots.

1. Food for the Olean Food Pantry. Need I say any more. Direct food to those in need. (future collections will go to the Warming House and other local groups as well).

2. Pet food, towels, sheets, laundry soap, and cleaning supplies for the Cattaraugus County SPCA. The next delivery is planned for this Saturday so if you could drop off your items before

3. Change the world! Instead of having to empty your pockets of change before bed, donate your loose change to BonaResponds and help Change the world!

There is a small collection bucket at the service desk of the Allegany Park and Shop. Money collected goes directly to help fund BonaResponds (and it is used before any fees etc so 100% goes directly to help).

How do such small donations matter? They add up! For instance in the fall we had two local service days where all volunteers were fed from these small change donations.

This is being cross-posted on both the BonaResponds blog and the Park and Shop blog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One year later: BonaResponds gets a van!

Good things come to those who wait.

just got an email from the University, we will be allowed to use the van that Coates donated to us last year! It has sat on campus for an entire year (well a year in 3 weeks), but it has been approved :)

Inspection and registration being started now. Good news :)

Thanks again to the Coates for the donation!

Texas coastal town faces long recovery

The article is a bit dated but will give new volunteers an idea of what it is like:

Texas coastal town faces long recovery:
"We’ve been down here three times since the storm and haven’t made a dent,” Franklin said. “And then the mud-out crew showed up. These guys have made a big difference.”

Disaster relief volunteers from Texas and South Carolina helped clear out the house and ripped out the soggy molding, sheetrock and insulation.

“We’re taking out their whole life here,” said Charlie Satterfield, a leader with the South Carolina Baptist disaster relief recovery team.

“Mrs. Goodwin’s been sitting out in the driveway, and we’ve been bringing things by her so she can decide what to keep and what to throw away,” said Ann Gaskins, a disaster relief volunteer with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Most of it is unsalvageable."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Update from Bridge City resident

Just got an email from a Bridge City resident. Here is the relevant part just very slightly edited.
"Thanks about asking about our community after the storm.

Update: FEMA has finally stepped up and we now have about 300 Trailer[s] in Bridge City. Most of the Houses have been gutted and sheet rock removed. I don't know anyone that has received insurance yet and the stories is that it's a fight to get any insurance to pay. Everyone is living paycheck to paycheck and trying to put what ever money they can into rebuilding. Most days we run out of Gas and the Laundry Mart is the most hopping place in town."

What to bring and necessary forms etc

A few administrative details:

All volunteers have three forms that need to be filled out:

Necessary forms 1, 2, 3.

I was asked by a volunteer about what to bring on the trip. Here is my list and the list from our host The Church of Christ Response team.

My list:

What to bring:
  1. A good attitude
  2. Work clothes (jeans, long sleeve tee, short sleeve tee, sweatshirt, workboots (ideally steel toed).
  3. Gloves--leather is best IMO
  4. Sun glasses/safety goggles
  5. Sleeping bag (pillow if you want one--yoga block works great and is smaller)
  6. A pair of shorts would not be a bad idea
  7. Flashlight
  8. cell phone charger
  9. digital camera
  10. warm clothes to sleep in
  11. towel
  12. toiletries etc (contacts, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc)
  13. water bottle
  14. Sun tan lotion (yes I know it is January, but if you are out all day and not used to it, you will want it!)
  15. granola bars etc--
  16. running clothes

We will stop at a grocery store the first day so you do not need to get everything on the plane
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.

Should have had a tetanus shot within 5 years.

and from Laura at the Church of Christ Disaster Response team:

Our location is the Community Center - 105 Parkside Dr. , Bridge City , Texas .

We're looking forward to working with you and we've got everything ready and waiting for you to arrive. Smile emoticon

Don't forget to make sure your tetanus shot is up to date.

Items that you will need to bring with you are:

Sleeping bag (we do have some available. Please call before coming to see if there are any available for your scheduled time)


Toiletry items

Long pants

Hard soled shoes

Good Attitude


Smile Smile emoticon

We are praying for safe travels for you!"

and from the introductory letter:
"Thank You !!

We appreciate the time you’re taking to be a part of the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team! (DRT)

You’re help here is very needed and so much appreciated!

The following is some information we’d like you to know. These things will help the work here go more smoothly when we all work together. 

When you arrive:
* Please pick up a T-Shirt. We ask for a $5. donation just to cover the cost of the shirts however, if you are not able to give a donation that is fine, we’d still like you to have a shirt. It helps those in the communities we are working in to know we’re from the Church of Christ.
* Please pick a “Team Leader” for your group. This person will meet with one of the coordinators each evening in the designated area at approx. 7:30 pm to go over work accomplished and prepare for the next day.

* Help yourself to snacks from the snack table at any time.
* Continental Breakfast is available from 6:00am – 7:00am
* Lunch will be served here at the community center at noon.
* Evening meals are provided by DRT at 6:00 pm. we work very hard to provide this for you so PLEASE try to return to the building in time to eat. If you are going to eat out, please let us know the day before so we can plan for that.
* Please clean up after yourselves. Please make sure to throw away any cups, plates, etc. that you’ve used and please keep your dorm room clean."
Hope this helps answer some of your questions

What is the work in Bridge City?

I have had several volunteers ask what we will be doing in Texas, so I have contacted the Church of Christ group again, but while waiting for a response I will blatantly copy from their blog from November 19th. The work will likely be very very similar.

Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team -- www.churchesofchristdrt.org:
"It's also been getting cold at night so we've been giving out quite a few blankets, warm clothing and electric heaters....

I know you're wondering what is still needed......... :)

Well.....we need YOU!! We are in desperate need of volunteers for all areas. Below is just a sample of some of the areas that we need volunteers for. Is this something you can do?? I'm sure you can find something on this list you can help with. :)

Pray (for those affected by the storm and for those ministering to them)

Working On Houses (gutting houses, disinfecting, installing sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, etc.)

Delivering Supplies to Houses

Distributing Supplies (filling orders and loading supplies in cars, etc.)

Interviewers for Distribution (helping to fill out forms, etc.)

Clothing (stocking, sorting, sizing, helping clients find sizes, etc.)

Cleaning (wash dishes, clean showers, restrooms, floors, etc.)"

A few videos from Bridge City

Some of these were right after the storm, but do give a good idea of how widespread the destruction was and why volunteers are needed!

A few drive-through videos:

Probably my favorite (best music!)

Another sad one.

This one focuses on a single family. I am definitely not saying we will be helping them, but there are others just like them that have not had their story put online.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

HODR (Marc) is on NPR!!!

Yesterday HODR was on NPR's Here and Now.

We have worked with HODR in Biloxi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa and there simply is not a better organization out there. We (BonaResponds) model nearly everything we do after them. So if you have a chance to help HODR either monetarily or by going to volunteer, please do. See HODR.org for more info.

Here and Now : Digging Out Haiti - 12/5/2008:
"Several months after a series of storms, Haitians in the city of Gonaives are still living on their roof tops while tons of mud get moved. Marc Young is coordinating international volunteers in Gonaives for the group, Hands On Disaster Response."
Great work! Marc (AKA Scuba) is a great guy and if he says it is bad, it is bad.

How to help BonaResponds from home

You can help BonaResponds from home quickly and easily. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. When shopping online, go to GoodSearch first and enter BonaResponds as your charity. It is good for airline tickets (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz), books (Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many others) and virtually anything else you could possibly want. Walmart, Cheese, stuffed animals, sporting goods, etc. BonaResponds gets a percentage of every sale.
  2. We need someone to update our Wikipedia entry. It is easy and anyone can do it! (just please be careful and make sure you link to any claim so it is documented.)
  3. If you know of anyone in Texas who might want to help us in Bridge City TX (airport runs, cooking, and also working with us January 5th to January 17th) let them and us know. They do not need any Bonaventure connection. Give them this link!

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Microloan project cant come fast enough

Yes we are starting a microloan project. We have about $1800 pledged to it so far (about $1200 collected). It is going to be a great help to those in need and will also allow the money to go much further than a simple donation AND will also be more appreciated.

But it is not yet up and running (waiting for the University OK) and as a result, the work day in Friendship of Dec 7th has been canceled. Plan on coming out December 15th-18th if you can.

Bill Driscoll (at least Bill Sr.) will be coming down from New Hampshire to help. And ideally we will have some faculty since finals will be done. (Maybe ;) )

Thursday, December 04, 2008

SBU volunteer group responding to Texas

SBU volunteer group responding to Texas:
"In the wake of the storm, Bridge City had been flooded entirely. BonaResponds will be working with the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team to help with the relief effort by distributing supplies, cooking and serving meals to the community as well as gutting and cleaning flooded houses. The trip is open to the public.

“I encourage people of all ages to come and join us in Bridge City,” said Dr. Jim Mahar, associate professor of finance and founder of BonaResponds. “Young or old, student or professor, I guarantee you will have fun and feel good about what you’re doing.”"

More reasons to go to Texas!

Was emailing with a person from Bridge City and told her that we did not have that many signed up yet. Her reply:

"...consider this: Out of 3500 homes in Bridge City, only 14 didn't receive water. There a loads of people who will need help rebuilding once insurance comes through for them. Lots of these folks are elderly, and there are quite a few handicapped who won't be able to afford to pay high priced contractors to come in and do this work for them.

Also, another thing you might do is go to some of the following sites and show them some of the pictures.
You can google Bridge City Texas and use the keywords hurricane and Ike. This really shows the devastation here.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with ....

One more thing, bribe them with all the good cajun and southern style food they can handle ;)

There you have it. More reasons to come help! Even if for only a portion of the time. You can help and you will be glad you did it.

Just because it is not on the national news every day, does not mean they don't need our help. In fact, they probably need it more since unlike after Katrina, their has not been a hige outpouring of help from across the nation. Blame it on the economy or whatever, but many people still need to be helped. We are going and we'd love to have you with us!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Talked w Ed from friendship.

Talked w Ed from friendship. he would love some help. sunday ten to two again. come and bring your friends!

BonaResponds is helping in Texas. Will you?

Our Notice Board announcement:

BonaResponds is going to help in Texas. Are you coming?

We still have room for those interested in coming to help in Bridge City Texas. In fact we will pay the first 20 to sign up $50! to help cover transportation costs.

Working from January 5th to January 17th in a town of 3400 where 99% of homes were damaged by flood waters from Hurricane Ike.

There is a meeting for those going or interested in going in Murphy's Dresser Aud at 12:30 on Friday. The meeting will be short.

For more info see our blog entry.

Twelve days of Bona Christmas

Twelve days of Bona Christmas t-shirt sales to benefit BonaResponds this Thurs and Fri in Reilly Center. $10.

Many Texans calling tents home 2 months after Ike - Nation |

Many Texans calling tents home 2 months after Ike - Nation |:
"...to no one's surprise, local officials and residents say FEMA has been slow to respond with the mobile homes it promised to provide. The federal agency promised officials last week that it has worked hard to cut the red tape and that housing remains its No. 1 priority.

In Bridge City, a blue-collar community of petrochemical workers, Ike damaged nearly 90 percent of the 3,400 homes.

The Ashbys, both 70, had hoped they could stay nearby in a hotel or rent an apartment or home while they repaired their house. But the closest vacancies of any kind were in Houston, 100 miles away.

'There just wasn't anything,' Ferrel Ashby said. The couple ended up sleeping on their son's couch at first and then in a tiny travel trailer he used for fishing trips."

In hurricane-ravaged Texas town, holiday brings hope - USATODAY.com

In hurricane-ravaged Texas town, holiday brings hope - USATODAY.com:
"San Leon, a town of 4,200 where many make a living from fishing, shrimping and oystering, was nearly crippled by the storm. About 900 people lost their homes, with as many as 1,500 of the 1,800 houses there damaged by the storm. Ike also wiped out about half of the bay's oysters and shredded fishing boats.

This time, however, there were smiles, not grim faces. There were families breaking bread side-by-side, not scattered by evacuation. There was hope, not despair.

This time, the San Leon residents were coming together at a Thanksgiving dinner organized by volunteers.... from the Valero's Texas City refinery and the Lighthouse Charity Team, not in a teeming disaster relief site"

Over the next couple of weeks I will be trying to report on the local area around Bridge City so we have an idea of what to expect. San Leon is closer to Houston than Bridge City but in same general area.

WInter Trip Meeting

BonaResponds Winter Break Meeting Friday 12:30 Murphy C.

Meeting for those going to Bridge City Texas to help with Hurricane clean up. It is not too late to go!

for more info see our previous post:

We will be working with the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team.

Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team - Hurricane Katrina - Tornados - Floods - Hurricanes:
"The entire town of Bridge City was under water. EVERY family was flooded. They DESPERATELY and URGENTLY need our help! Please click on the link to the blog on the left of this page for more details."
In an email I got the following:
"Our relief effort is set up in the Bridge City Community Center. We are currently distributing supplies, cooking and serving meals to the community (600 - 800 per day) as well as gutting and cleaning houses and beginning the rebuilding stage.
We have a separate area set up for guys and girls dorm rooms (complete with air mattresses) as well as laundry facilities and a (6) stall shower trailer with continuous instant hot water Smile emoticon We provide continental breakfast, lunch and dinner for all volunteers.
We also have our tool trailers onsite so everything you will need to work with is here.
We will need everyone in your group to individually go online to our website http://www.churchesofchristdrt.org and fill out the "volunteer sign up form". Once they have done that, they will receive an email reply with a list of "need to know" items for your trip."
We will be flying down. Fly into Houston's George Bush International Airport. We will rent a van (or two) and make trips to Bridge City beginning on January 5 afternoon. We will leave on the 17th.

So if you are going:
1. Book a flight
2. Log onto the Church of Christ website and sign up
3. Email BonaResponds@sbu.edu the confirmations

So let's get moving! We need people to help get the word out, fliers, get an article in the BV, on The Buzz, in OTH, etc. Want 25 volunteers at least.

  1. We will be subsidizing the trip by at least $50 a person for the first 20 Bona Students or employees (or Alumni and Olean Community) people to sign up. After that it will probably be $40 a person through December 5th. (just think, we could subsidize it more if the University hadn't reimposed the 5% fee on our fund raising AFTER they said last year that they were done!)
  2. Open to anyone. (16 and up is fine with parent)
  3. Yes you can come for a portion of the trip. We'd love to have you if only for a few days.
  4. Alumni and community, PLEASE come. We need your work but also it helps students to see importance and that you can serve as both role models and add some maturity.
  5. You are not too old. We can find work for you. If nothing else, we will need drivers to pick people up at airport etc.
  6. Faculty: come on out. It will be the most fun you have, you will help people more than you can imagine, and you will learn that your students are by and large great people! To date very few of you have participated. I am not sure if it is because you are scared or what, but it is VERY fun and the right thing to do.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thank yous!!!!

Just wanted to take a second and thank some people for donations:

  1. Tony Annunziato for a generous donation.
  2. David Rakus for the bus we will be getting in Feb 2009 as well as starting a beef jerky sales program where BonaResponds will get much of the profits.
  3. Steve Hayes for several appliances that will be given to Mark in West Clarksville plus a single mom working on her GED in Olean
  4. The Driscolls, Jen, and two anonymous donors for for helping to establish a fund that will be used for micro lending.

Speaking of donations saw this article on donations during recessions. Not sure what it means for BonaResponds. I continue to maintain that getting volunteers and leaders is what we need.

Food banks, shelters benefit as charity stays closer to home - MarketWatch:
"'Given rising unemployment and food costs being high... it's harder and harder for everyone to make ends meet,' he said.
That doesn't mean Americans with the means to give are turning their backs on all charities this year -- especially when it comes to helping their neighbors.
Not surprisingly, giving fell 1%, on average, during recession years between 1967 and 2007, according to research from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA Foundation. In years without a recession, charitable giving typically grows 4.3%."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hurricane Ike victims dine in style for Thanksgiving >> www.beaumontenterprise.com - Local

Hurricane Ike victims dine in style for Thanksgiving >> www.beaumontenterprise.com - Local:
"Dianne Stout and her husband are living in their shed in Bridge City after their home was flooded in Hurricane Ike.

The couple, along with their grown children and three grandchildren, eight all together, gathered for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

'We would've been satisfied to have a ham sandwich together,' she said.....
The Stout family was among about 200 people, most of them affected by Ike, who had a free Thanksgiving dinner at The Palms special events center"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Work in Friendship

Good turnout, getting much done in friendship

Friday, November 21, 2008

It is official! We are going to Bridge City

It has been 99% certain for about a week, but it is now official. Bridge City Texas, here we come!

We will be working with the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team.

Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team - Hurricane Katrina - Tornados - Floods - Hurricanes:
"The entire town of Bridge City was under water. EVERY family was flooded. They DESPERATELY and URGENTLY need our help! Please click on the link to the blog on the left of this page for more details."
In an email I got the following:
"Our relief effort is set up in the Bridge City Community Center. We are currently distributing supplies, cooking and serving meals to the community (600 - 800 per day) as well as gutting and cleaning houses and beginning the rebuilding stage.
We have a separate area set up for guys and girls dorm rooms (complete with air mattresses) as well as laundry facilities and a (6) stall shower trailer with continuous instant hot water Smile emoticon We provide continental breakfast, lunch and dinner for all volunteers.
We also have our tool trailers onsite so everything you will need to work with is here.
We will need everyone in your group to individually go online to our website http://www.churchesofchristdrt.org and fill out the "volunteer sign up form". Once they have done that, they will receive an email reply with a list of "need to know" items for your trip."
We will be flying down. Fly into Houston's George Bush International Airport. We will rent a van (or two) and make trips to Bridge City beginning on January 5 afternoon. We will leave on the 17th.

So if you are going:
1. Book a flight
2. Log onto the Church of Christ website and sign up
3. Email BonaResponds@sbu.edu the confirmations

So let's get moving! We need people to help get the word out, fliers, get an article in the BV, on The Buzz, in OTH, etc. Want 25 volunteers at least.

  1. We will be subsidizing the trip by at least $50 a person for the first 20 Bona Students or employees (or Alumni and Olean Community) people to sign up. After that it will probably be $40 a person through December 5th. (just think, we could subsidize it more if the University hadn't reimposed the 5% fee on our fund raising AFTER they said last year that they were done!)
  2. Open to anyone. (16 and up is fine with parent)
  3. Yes you can come for a portion of the trip. We'd love to have you if only for a few days.
  4. Alumni and community, PLEASE come. We need your work but also it helps students to see importance and that you can serve as both role models and add some maturity.
  5. You are not too old. We can find work for you. If nothing else, we will need drivers to pick people up at airport etc.
  6. Faculty: come on out. It will be the most fun you have, you will help people more than you can imagine, and you will learn that your students are by and large great people! To date very few of you have participated. I am not sure if it is because you are scared or what, but it is VERY fun and the right thing to do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friendship this Sunday!

Spoke with Ed and Donna this AM, they really could use some help!

Leaving Sunday at 10:00 from Back of Murphy. Return about 2:00.

Dress warmly!

Laura and Ashley put up new BonaResponds window display at the Allegany Park and Shop. it looks very good. Thanks!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Handicapped by severe lack of

Handicapped by severe lack of volunteers but getting some insulation done. . really need vols as ed's health worse

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bridge City Texas info

Here is some background on Bridge City from Wikipedia..
"Bridge City is a city in Orange County, Texas, United States. The population was 8,651 at the 2000 census. The town borders the Neches River and Cow Bayou. It is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur Metropolitan Statistical Area .The city was originally named Prairie View, as it was located on the coastal grasslands of the upper Texas coastline"

"In 2008, the storm surge generated by Hurricane Ike caused nearly complete flooding of Bridge City. Mayor Kirk Roccaforte estimated that only 14 homes in the city were unaffected by the surge."
The Bridge City official website: As of November 10th, the following rules were still in place




KOGT Photo Gallery- powered by SmugMug-- Here are over 200 pictures of the flooding and recovery efforts from Ike in and around Bridge City.

I have also temporarily added an RSS Topix feed to the right hand side of the blog. It will keep us up to date on news from Bridge City.

Still awaiting official word on whether this is where we will be or not. Come to the meeting tonight and find out. also possible still a few places in Louisiana and Galveston.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two Videos from Bridge City

Still waiting to hear for sure, but this is possibly where we are going. Good video!

and a second video:

Bridge City TX Hurricane Ike Photo's

Bridge City TX Hurricane Ike Photo's-
-here are some pictures of where we may be going!

January 5-17, 2009

Monday, November 10, 2008

BonaResponds meeting Thurs 8:30PM.murphy aud

BonaResponds meeting Thurs 8:30PM.murphy aud C topics incl gulf coast trips and fundraising.bring ur friends.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


We have to cancel tomorrow's local day (Sunday Nov 9). The house in Friendship has much work to do, but like many Wall Street firms the owners need some money. If anyone wants to help organize a fund raiser for them, please let me know.

The weather forecast (rain, wind, and possibly snow) does not make working on Bob's Woods sound like much fun. Given the work is not an emergency situation, we will postpone it until nicer weather.

If the weather is nicer than expected or if any of you really want to do it, please email me and I will go out and work with you for a while.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Local day Sunday 10 to

Local day Sunday 10 to 2 in Friendship and maybe bobs woods. meet 950 at murphy

SSRN-Do Voters Appreciate Responsive Governments? Evidence from Indian Disaster Relief by Shawn Cole, Andrew Healy, Eric Werker

Not sure if this is a finance paper or a BonaResponds paper, but I found it interesting. Note it was written way before the recent election and is a good reason for governments to respond quickly (and to allow volunteer groups to do so too!) to disasters.

SSRN-Do Voters Appreciate Responsive Governments? Evidence from Indian Disaster Relief by Shawn Cole, Andrew Healy, Eric Werker:
"Using rainfall, public relief, and election data from India, we examine how governments respond to adverse shocks and how voters react to these responses. The data show that voters punish the incumbent party for weather events beyond its control. However, we find evidence that fewer voters punish the ruling party when the party responds vigorously to the crisis. Moreover, severe crises are associated with increased voter sensitivity to disaster assistance. These results are consistent with models of government accountability, and provide an explanation for Amartya Sen's claim that democratic governments respond better to salient emergencies than to less conspicuous ones. Even so, the results suggest that even the most responsive government will fare worse in the subsequent election than had there been no disaster."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

University Wins Olean Award

From the Olean Times Herald:
"OLEAN - St. Bonaventure University has been named recipient of the 2008 Enterprising Business Award given by the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce."
and in the article:
"Mr. Sayegh said through endeavors such as the Paccioli Project, efforts such as BonaResponds, and commitments such as Bona Buddies and The Warming House, the university has attracted students who are committed to service. This not only enhances the campus environment, but provides a wide range of resources, opportunities and assistance to the regional communities."

Jen and Ed laying floor braces

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Only four volunteers but making

Only four volunteers but making progress. putting in floors hanging joist hangers for ceiling in back room.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Heard again from friendship.they would

Heard again from friendship.they would REALLY like some help.can we get five or six vol from 10 to 1 on SUN? EMAIL me if you can.

3 hours can make a big difference!

This is a test of

This is a test of uploading directly to the blog from my phone. not as nice as twitter but many dont see twitter

Local day canceled

As you know by now, today's local day was canceled. We had four jobs tentatively scheduled.

  1. West Clarksville: continue to help on Mark's house
  2. Friendship: continue to help on Donna and Ed's house
  3. Bob's Woods: cut some new trail, trail maintenance, and work around pond
  4. Olean: painting street signs
Unfortunately the cold, wet, and windy weather led to the postponement of all the events. They will be rescheduled.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Details on this Saturday's work day

Friendship and West Clarksville houses will take priority. If we have some people left and the weather is not too bad we'd like to work some on Bob's woods.

If the weather is much better than forecasted and we have time, we'd also like to get some painting done, but confess that it is unlikely.

Meet in Murphy at 10:50. We need transportation (once again no school vans) so if you can drive your own car and take people we would REALLY appreciate it!

Be sure to come dressed to work. It could be wet and cold. Gloves, boots, etc.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Help BonaResponds when you shop online

Support BonaResponds while you shop

With holiday shopping coming up, you can help support BonaResponds while buying items at nearly 700 of your favorite online stores. Merely go to GoodShop.com (http://GoodShop.com) and Enter BonaResponds as the Charity you shop for. BonaResponds will get between 1% to 5% of your purchase price.

So if you are going to be shopping anyways, you might as well help BonaResponds help others!

BonaResponds local day this Saturday!

BonaResponds Local Day This Saturday

Come work with BonaResponds this Saturday in West Clarksville and Friendship building houses. We want to get the owners into their new homes by winter. Come out and help. 11-4:00. (meet in Murphy 10:45).

We'd also like to do some outside work in Bob's Woods if we get enough volunteers.

We need transportation so if you have your own vehicle and can drive it would be a big help!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Cedar Rapids Thank you!

A million thanks to all of you who came out here to help with the flood
effort. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to see such generosity and
As a resident who has done hours of work to help my neighbors, I can't even
imagine the sacrifices you endured to help out a city of complete strangers.
My husband, and I got to meet some of you as you worked on my friend's house
one Sunday afternoon. I was amazed at the enormous progress you had made.
The world is full of angels, and you are proof of that. Thanks again, for your
help and that reminder.
Sincerely, Mary M.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cedar Rapids' recovery

There seems to be some debate about the speed of recovery in Cedar Rapids. I have NEVER agreed with FEMA, but in this case I do, the progress is very very slow. Yes it was a horrible disaster, but the progress has been very slow even by Gulf Coast standards.

Not only are most homes still uninhabitable (we checked the homes we had gutted in July and only one was even close to being ready AND even it is still at least a month off). Most of them have not yet been touched and 4 months after the flood we were still taking personal items out of houses prior to even thinking about gutting the now mold infested buildings.

From the Gazette online: FEMA Says Cedar Rapids Moving Too Slow:
" The surprise $77 million awarded to the city Tuesday for public flood recovery came because federal officials believed the city was too slow in asking for money.

"We just got concerned that the city was moving a little slower than what we wanted," said Eric Wynn, the Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance coordinator in Cedar Rapids."
Not everyone agrees:

Congressmen view Cedar Rapids's recovery | GazetteOnline.com - Cedar Rapids, Iowa City:
"Doug Neumann of the Downtown District explained that about 75 percent of the downtown businesses representing 85 percent of the district's work force are back. Very few of the ground floor businesses are back, at least not in their former spaces."
75% HUH?? Really. If this is true, it is very very well hid. Yes the large firms are back, but many small firms especially in and around Czech Village still need much help.

Not sure? see for yourself. Go volunteer. They can use the help!

knocking a window out

One of the really cool things about flickr is they now accept short videos too. Here is one Laura took of me knocking out a window.

A thank you from a Cedar Rapids resident

We received the following letter which will be included in its entirety:

Dear Bona Responds Volunteers,

We send you more greetings, thanks and appreciation from a weary but determined Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sunday afternoon we did what we have done in so many free moments since June 11th. The two of us served in some volunteer capacity around our city, then drove through the battered neighborhoods.

Yesterday we drove by the house owned by our friend Joyce—and there were all these helpful people in masks, and two St. Bonaventure vans parked on the street. Knowing little about your school but seeing such obvious volunteer spirit, we stopped by to see how the house was looking. (My wife, Mary, Joyce and others worked on this same house a few days ago to begin the recovery.)

What we found was a GREAT DEAL of progress. It was so welcome a sight, work on one more house on one more block of 1,300 ravaged blocks of our city. We also found this humble but gracious spirit, such lovely people who gave up a college break to help us. Young people, faculty, people who cared so much, gave us so much.

I was overcome with emotion in that dusty, noisy moment at the curb. I am becoming so even now in typing these words. Please accept one more grateful THANK YOU from Iowans-- to you, the Empire State Angels who have demonstrated their faith and hopeful helpfulness to former strangers who are now appreciative neighbors.

With Grateful Thanks,

Steve C.

Leader meeting Monday 12:30 in Mur 105

Leader meeting for anyone who is a BonaResponds leader (or anyone who wants to become one!)

12:30 Murphy 105. It will be thirty minutes or less!

agenda includes Bob's Woods, local service days, planning of winter trip, spring break trip.

Also 6pm on Tuesday there is a ceremony where we will be the recipient of a large donation. It is in the Rathskeller. Please come if you are able. We would like to show the donor his gift is appreciated.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BonaResponds - Iowa

BonaResponds - Iowa
Originally uploaded by Nif.
Steve and Rob gutting a home. This is part of Jen's many pictures of the trip. More (with more still to come) are available here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gutting and more...

Just realized this was done on Sunday but never got actually put onto the blog. Sorry for the delay.

Today our job was mainly to gut homes. It was a pretty good day. We worked on the first house for most of the day. Towards the end of the day some friends of the owner stopped by and expressed her (the owner's) thanks.

Then we went and began clearing out a home directly across from the Cedar river. The property (in and outside) is in desperate need for clean up. The home itself is absolutely covered with mold.

We only had time to do the outside and to haul some of the things from inside (couch and other furniture, personal items etc. so that with luck gutting can begin tomorrow.

Because we the job ended a bit early we decided to go visit some of the homes we had done in July. The results were mixed.

None of the four main houses we did are yet lived in. The main reason according to the owners is that they do not know what the city is going to do with the area near Czech Village. Some fear it will be razed while others are just waiting for a new higher levee to be built.

Chris (the first house) was the most upbeat. He seems to be ready to meet whatever happened, but was hopeful it would happen sooner rather than later.

We then went uphill a few streets and met were just slowly driving by the final home we worked on and Jan saw the van and came running out to say hi. They are not yet back in the home but will be soon (in fact their cat appears to be living there now).

No one was home at the other homes.

As for today, we have more pictures up here.

Mike Shoveling wood chips

Hard day today. We worked on parks in Cedar Rapids with HODR.

Good crew!

many more pictures are here:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Made it to Cedar Rapids

Just to let everyone know, we made it here. 4 AM central time, so under 15 hours. :)

catch 2 hours sleep and work soon.

Will keep you posted.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Plans for Iowa

There are 14 people going.

We will be leaving at 2:30pm pm Friday from over by the maintenance building.

We will be going to Cedar Rapids. Please be sure to bring sleeping bags, boots, etc...
For a list of what to take consider this post from many trips ago, but still works. Two additions: pack as light as possible and please use soft bags (gym bags go under seats, suitcases do not

Please have the forms all filled out:
Necessary forms 1, 2, 3

see you on Friday!

We will return after work on Monday...so get to SBU on Tues.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Thank you from the SPCA and Cuba Job report

A thank you from the Cattaraugus county SPCA that can also serve as a site report :)
"thanks again for sending students to the SPCA this past Saturday. They got a lot of work done in the hours they were here including: Feeding newborn kittens, stacking tons of washed blankets used as beds in the kennels, Walking lots of dogs (the dogs really enjoyed the day!), cleaning feed and water bowls, and prepping outside kennels for painting (they had to be bleached and scrubbed). The team worked enthusiastically and were a pleasure to be with. One of the visiting students from Villa actually adopted a dog from us that day.

The Bonaresponds team is the greatest!!"

Kindest regards,


Pat led a small team to Cuba to paint the patio of the woman who on welcome day (August 23rd) had her garage painted.
"For the October 4th local service day, four of us –I, my father, and two Villa Maria students- finished up a project started by BonaResponds on August 23rd. The work for this most recent service day was to sand and repaint an elderly woman’s patio. This job for us was rather mundane; however, to her, there was nothing mundane about it. The woman we helped can only get around with great difficulty and recently has been in and out of the hospital. Despite this, she helped us out as much as possible, giving us all the supplies we needed to finish the job.

Ideally, her patio will need a second coat. However, our work significantly improved its appearance, and it will preserve her deck for this winter. Most importantly, though, was the elderly woman’s gratitude for what we did that day. "

Reflections on Local day from Kim and Villa Maria

Kim led a group of Villa Maria volunteers down to our local service day this past Saturday. Here is what they had to say about the day:

"Thanks again for inviting us to join you for the local service day on
October 4. The Villa group had a great day, and came back with good
memories, sore muscles, and one extra passenger
(more on that below!) A few thoughts/stories to share.

One of our students, Julia, chose to work at West Clarksville.
When we all got together before mass, I asked her why she decided to go
there, and she shared that her family had a house fire one month before
Mark. She sustained burns to her hands, and her family lost nearly
everything. Julie said that working at Mark's house was as helpful to her
as it was to him.

*Three members of our group (Pat, Lauren, and Alison) went to the
SPCA, and loved the experience. One student, Pat, brought home a
four-legged souvenir- a Shih-tzu!

* Two of our students, Jamila and Angelina, went into the Olean
streets to paint signs. They really enjoyed the day, meeting new people,
and working outdoors on a beautiful day.

* Five of us (Jessica, Laurie, Lloyd, Don, and I) worked in Bob's
woods. Loved being outdoors, and we got a lot done- filling holes, clearing
trails, digging out tree stumps. In the afternoon, we trail blazed a new
trail.considered Lloyd's idea that perhaps some BR goat volunteers would be
helpful, but the job of cleaning up after them might make their help a bit
less inviting! Jen was a great leader, and we had fun!

I've already had some of our group express a desire to come there
again to help. If you have any other local days planned, even at just a few
sites, let me know. We may come down with a small group to help..

Again THANK YOU from all of us. for the invitation, the hospitality,
and letting us join the BonaResponds family. We are looking forward to the
spring Buffalo Service day. Plan on using Villa for a meeting place before
and after the work day."

Jen's video

This is a video of all of our events (well almost all) since the beginning. It is 13 minutes but very good and well worth your time!!

SUCCESS!!! A second van!

We have found some more drivers! We can take another van to Iowa!

SUCCESS! We lined up enough drivers for a second van! (Thanks Tim and Sara!!).

So, we have more space. It is not too late, but act fast..today! Go to BonaResponds.org and register for the trip. It will be fun and you will get much good work done. There is no better way to spend mid-term break.

Cost $100.

From the Notice-board announcement:
BonaResponds Iowa!

BonaResponds is going back to Iowa for Fall Break! Yes this weekend! ACT FAST!
October 10-14th

Cost $100. Space is very limited. First come basis. Sign up at http://BonaResponds.org

Working with Hands on Disaster Responds (HODR) in Cedar Rapids. BonaResponds was there in July and we are going back to help rebuild. You can come. We are not having an interest meeting. It is this week. Must sign up as soon as possible.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Some Site updates from Yesetrday

New Trail Work
Originally uploaded by Nif.
Yesterday we had just over 60 volunteers working at 8 sites around the area. These included continuing the building on two homes in Allegany County and making trails through Bob's Woods.

Here are some reports from the Site leaders:

From Ashley who worked on a really cool time line of the history of BonaResponds since Katrina. VERY GOOD!
"We spent the October 4th local service day
collaborating ideas, words and pictures into a great time line that spanned the lifetime of BonaResponds. We had a little bit of trouble finding an open computer lab and had to switch a couple time, but it made the day that much more interesting. We spent several hours working on the computers, collecting information and pictures and bouncing ideas off each other and finally printing everything we needed for the time line. Before we hung the time line up in the RC, we took a short lunch
break. Hanging the time line proved to be an interesting experience as well but working together and sharing ideas we got the job done."

Update from Bob's Woods Team (Jen was the leader on this one)
"We spent the first part of the day working on various parts of trail maintenance in Bob's Woods: filling holes along the trails, especially on the dike sections, clearing branches, cutting out stumps and roots on the trails that were dangerous for walkers/runners, and trimming back bushes. Another group worked on planters near Francis, and another cleared a trail near the creek which is being prepared as an "observation look-out" - great for nature walks. The team came together right before lunch to clear some downed trees and branches behind Francis. During the rest of the day, we trail-blazed! In a brand new section between the back fields and the River Trail, a new trail through the meadow section began its transformation from some orange ribbons sprinkled throughout the deep grass and brush and strategically marking the route to a "real trail". There is more to do to finish clearing the brush and grass out to the field. Then, a pass with a lawnmower will finish the trail... or, if you ask the volunteers, several goats would be just perfect! Our team was a friendly, helpful group that worked hard and enjoyed the nice weather and fresh air. Great day!"
And Mike who led the West Clarksville crew send this along:
"We had a very, very productive day. We accomplished more than I thought we were going to. A group of us gathered about another third of Mark's total winter supply of fire wood, while another laid down the first floor, floor barrier and plywood. Along with that we also insulated the back wall of the first floor. Another group created steps for the back doorway and stacked fire wood on the outside of the house.... Once again he [Mark] greatly appreciated us helping him out again, and is so enthusiastic about being able to move in before winter"
Steve added to West Clarksville:
" We put in and finished the floor (a bunch of chipwood boards, i thought it was plywood but it wasn't). Lots of firewood was collected again. For the upstairs floor they're gonna polish it and then put linoleum tiles down. Some parts downstairs will be carpeted. Insulation was started on the back wall."

Laura and Jim's speeches from Francis Day

On Saturday October 4th, St. Bonaventure celebrated Francis Day by honoring service groups on campus. The highlight of the day was a concert by New Orleans jazz musicians who came to thank BonaResponds for the work they have done along the gulf coast.

Jim and Laura got to speak at it during intermission. Here are their speeches.

And yes it was freezing in the gym. Notice how I keep rubbing my hands to stay warm. LOL!

HODR on NBC nightly news!

Many of you have seen HODR has deployed to Haiti. Today NBC had a nice piece on John Hancock a HODR volunteer.

BTW that mud is unbelievable!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A word of congratulations from Randy

Sorry we can't b there in person, we will definitely b there in spirit.Is there anyway we might do a brief call on speaker phone? I would love to say hi and praise the work you guys did here and do everyday! ....Keep me informed when and what you guys are doing....Congratulations to all the BR Rangers on a well deserved day of recognition!! Randy

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Iowa Announcement


Because we have been unable to get more drivers, at the current time we will only be taking one van. If we can get more drivers approved (they must be either over 25 or a SBU graduate student and in either case have a good driving record), we will take two vans.

This is a problem since we have more people wanting to go than can fit in a van. So, rather than raise prices (which the economist in me knows is what we should do), we will limit those who can go. The pecking order will be those who went in July get first priority, leaders who have been to at least two of this semesters events and helped plan the events get second priority, and then it will be on a first come first serve basis.

Cost of the trip will be $100 and will include transportation and food while in Iowa. For a list of what to take consider this post from many trips ago, but still works. Two additions: pack as light as possible and please use soft bags (gym bags go under seats, suitcases do not.

btw we did look into taking a bus but HODR can not handle that many volunteers currently due to changing nature of work and the large number of volunteers already there.

More Thank-yous

Over the past few days Ashley has been taking some thank you notes we've received and typing them into so that all the volunteers can know their work was appreciated. We do not have permission to use names so they will be generic to city.

From Olean:

I want to personally thank you for the caliber of the young adults that serve on the [BonaResponds] they are awesome! [BonaResponds] are truly a unique force in our community exhibiting character and dedication to a task which will build a strong relationship to a school of high standards. Thank you so much for blessing us with such a group of young adults to help. A great work was accomplished … as we are renovating the house next to the chapel for Sunday school rooms. I felt that perhaps a personal hand written note would speak volumes more of our gratitude than a manufactured letter. The words from the lyrics of a song come to mind which I think indicates the kind of students you have. “He is no fool if he would choose to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

From Cedar Rapids Iowa:

"Thank you very much for all of your help on my flooded home. BonaResponds were so great…I’m a single parent who needed help and they were there for me. They did everything I asked and then some. I couldn’t have done it without them. Please keep helping us. Everyone was so happy to have them in my neighborhood. We all are helping each other to get their this I hope I can help repay you some day. Thanks again very much."

More to come soon...

Story from the OTH

Jim Mahar responds as alumnus, professor and relief organizer:
"Since 2005, BonaResponds has made six more trips to the Gulf Coast and trips to six other FEMA disaster sites, Mahar said. The group, funded primarily by donations, has provided relief in Enterprise, Ala., and Buffalo, N.Y.

Mahar said he remembered a saying from Biloxi that would influence him and the group’s spectrum of service.

“Just because we go home doesn’t mean we have to forget.”
Uh, technically the saying was "take that magical feeling home with you. There are humane societies that need help, there are poor people who need help. You do not need to travel to Biloxi to do good." ---or something like that, but...it was said by a volunteer from TN in late December 2005 or early January 2006 at an all-hands meeting in at the then Hands on USA.
"Mahar said the saying inspired him to steer BonaResponds to the community he grew up in. The group has performed service throughout the Olean area, volunteering at the SPCA, serving food at homeless shelters and building homes."
It is one of a series of article on SBU alumni in the Local paper to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the University.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A few Thank-You's

I have been meaning to post some thank-yous...so here are two from Friendship..

First from Donna:

"I just want to say a great big huge thank you to all of you!
Words can not express are greatest appreciation of all your help you done for us ! Are prayers and many blessing to all of you !

Ed and Donna "

and then from a Niece:

" I also would like to thank you very much for helping my uncle out, you are wonderful for taking the time to help someone in there time of need. Ed and Donna have fallen upon hard times, and are lifted up by people so willing to take time out of their lives to make a difference in someone else's. I can't think of two more deserving of the award, always ready to help someone in need themselves, down but definitely not out, they won't see anyone else that way either. Go St. Bonaventure Go!"

October Newsletter

This will be short!
* Remember this Saturday October 4th, we will be having a work day from 10-4:00..mass will follow in the RC at 5:00 pm, a dinner is at 6:00 with Creole food!, followed at 7:30 by a concert in the RC by a New Orleans jazz band that is flying up to thank us for the work we've done in the Gulf. After the concert there will be fireworks on the back field.
Meet at 10:00 in Murphy Aud. Work includes home building (Friendship and West Clarksville, SPCA, Bobs Woods, preparation for concert etc, painting, working on bicycles and more) Come dressed to work. If under 18, please have parents sign this form
* We need volunteers during the day but also afterwards for before and during the concert to staff information tables, serve as ushers, and to take pictures!
* We have a DESPERATE need for drivers for our Fall Break trip. We have two vans reserved, so we need drivers. Must be either above 25 or a grad student and in both cases have a clean driving record. If you qualify, you can go for free. We are that desperate!
* Fall Break trip is to Cedar Rapids Iowa. October 10-14th. We will be working again with HODR. Cost is $150. There is VERY limited availability. (priority for those in Iowa with us this summer, then BonaResponds leaders, then on a first come first serve basis.
* Winter trip will probably be from January 5-17th. Location still to be determined. Top choices Galveston, Houston, SW Louisiana, Bay St. Louis MS, or Pass Christian MS. Details will follow the Fall Break trip.
* We will be taking orders for BonaResponds Hoodies. Cost will be $29 plus Shipping. Order now before it gets cold!
* remember for more info on most of these and other events, see http://BonaResponds.org and our blog at http://BonaResponds.Blogspot.com
Hope to see you this weekend!
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