Tornado Recovery Update: We’re Building a House!

July 17, 2012

Dear Friends,

I’m learning that they don’t call it “long term recovery” for nothing! Indeed, the process of helping people restore and reclaim and rebuild and recover following a disaster requires months and months of hard work.

I am so grateful for all the good and hard work of so many in our presbytery since the tornados of March 2. If I tried to name them all, I would certainly fail. I want especially, however, to lift up Mike and Jean Beaver, Jack Cormack, Sharon Kutz-Mellem, Peter Barnes-Davies, and Susan Ohlendorf, who have been an active part of March2Recovery. They have done our presbytery proud with their continued dedication.

In addition to our work with the ongoing long-term recovery efforts, I am pleased to announce today that the Presbytery of Ohio Valley will be building a house!

We will undertake this effort in partnership with Volunteers-ROC (Rebuilding our Community).  This decision comes following several weeks of discernment and meetings, including visits to construction sites and conversations with some of the families being served. Yesterday, Mike and Jean and Jack and I spent several hours with Kevin Cox, who serves as director for V-ROC.  V-ROC is a southern Indiana ministry of the Hope Crisis Response Network, and follows nationally recognized guidelines for case management and home construction. To date, V-ROC has put over 120 families back in homes following the March 2 tornados, and they have seven houses currently under construction.

Our partnership will enable us to purchase building materials at cost (a huge savings). In addition, we will be able to use as much or as little of V-ROC’s assistance as we need in such areas as house design, site supervision, licensed plumbers and electricians, and the scheduling and housing of volunteers. The presbytery will be covering the full cost of this construction from donations received from within our bounds and from around the country.

Our next step is to identify a family, which we will do in partnership with V-ROC’s case management system. From there we will begin to set a construction schedule and secure work teams accordingly. We will be back in touch with you once we have a schedule in place. It is likely that the actual construction will not begin until later this fall, so please stay tuned. We especially want to make room for work teams from our presbytery, our sister presbyteries in Indiana, our Presbyterian friends across the river, and any others as the need and opportunities warrant.

Once the construction is completed, there will be a house-blessing and a house-warming! And we hope to be able to stay in touch with our partner family as they continue in the work of recovery.

So…. stay tuned! And keep us in prayer as we take these next steps.

And remember….
In life and in death, and in all the circumstances of life, we belong to God. And we belong to each other. Thanks be to God for these blessed connections.

Peace and all good,

The Rev’d. Susan C. McGhee
Executive Presbyter
The Presbytery of Ohio Valley