So Today is day two of being in New Jersey! We did our first mission today. We spent the day in Atlantic City.
We began our day by gutting out the home of a retired fire chief for the Atlantic City Fire Department......the story gets much deeper than that. May years ago, they had a fire in their own home and lost both of their daughters. Not only did the dad become a firefighter after this, so did three of his sons that survived the fire...very heartwarming story! Harold and Keith were there to help us every step of the way. We gutted and stripped the sheetrock off the walls in the basement, removed the flooring and carried everything out in less than 3 hours! What a GREAT team we have here this week.
When we were almost done with this job, Bobbie, Laura and I walked the streets of Atlantic City and asked if there was anyone else that needed an help. There was a very sweet lady in a car that told us we should go up and check with her friend Liz...she may need help. We spoke with Liz whom had the sweetest personality of any woman I have ever met, and she said her home was doing ok; she then asked if we would take a look at her sisters home because she lost everything. When we arrived, Carlos was their (her son) working by himself......he was reluctant at first, but then decided that yes, he would like our help. His mothers home had standing water....3 weeks after the Hurricane. There was black mold on the wall, no electricity, and no heat. We were able to gut this entire home in about 5 hours. We have just a bit more to do there tomorrow to finish up. Before we left, Carlos asked if he could talk with us. Carlos told us about how he dreaded getting up in the morning and coming to clean up his mothers home, however, he stated she worked hard to get what she has got and they were not going to allow that to just go away with the storm. Carlo's mother Varnell has lived in this home for 67 years!!! Carlos also spoke of the night that Hurricane Sandy hit....he stated he had his family all leave, but that he stayed behind. After the first wave hit, he had to have someone come over and open his door because he knew the second wave had bigger plans. He waded his way through the streets in 4 foot high water to get to higher ground. He told us true stories of all the fish in the roads, and even some sharks. There were a couple of residents that were bitten by sharks in the streets of Atlantic City. CRAZY! But, I believe the most touching part of helping out this family was when Carlos told us that he had not smiled in 3 days and thought that god had given up on him and his family....but because of us, he was again able to smile...and smile he did :)
Another few things we did today was head to a shelter where I was able to donate many of the Coats (and gave out a few while there) and some food. There are soo many that still are in need! While walking the streets of Atlantic City there was a woman in desperate search of some diapers....well, wouldn't you know it, I had a pack of diapers in the perfect size in my car. So, I gave her some diapers, and wipes! She was so gracious :)
Lastly, but by far the least, I was able to help out a family that still does not have heat. They were so thankful to receive 2 of the quilts and a few other blankets that were donated all the way from Minnesota.
Thank you all again for your donations.....people are just shocked when they hear that Minnesota cared enough to fill my car and send me here on this amazing journey!
Until tomorrow, please keep myself and all of the people I come in contact with in your prayers and/or Happy Thoughts....Peace and Love!