'God Must Have Sent You' Seattle Area Volunteers Aid New Orleans

In New Orleans, if your house isn’t boarded up properly, city officials will red tag the home for demolition at the owner’s expense. If the owner can’t pay, the land is repossessed.

Such was the potential case for one elderly Adventist woman who owned a home in the Upper Ninth Ward but who is currently living in Texas. The sagging ceiling fan on the second floor, the hacked-through roof, and the water marks high on the wall are remaining reminders of more than 20 feet of water from Hurricane Katrina. Her home had been cleared of deep sludge, like most other homes in the area, but she had no means to safeguard her home.

A scouting team of four people, representing the Washington Conference, spent an entire day of their week in New Orleans boarding up nine openings to the elderly woman's home. The group included Byron Dulan, from Lighthouse Christian Fellowship; Donovan Vliet, from Poulsbo; Serret Perry from Edmonds; and Vera Raseecin, from Ferndale/Bellingham. Earlier in the week, the team of Washington volunteers, along with members of other church-based groups from across the country, had met Alice Carter, who received only $300 from insurance for her home and belongings. When they volunteered to help with general clean-up and sheet rocking, Carter exclaimed, “God must have sent you here.”

“I learned so much about New Orleans without really even trying to learn,” said Dulan, who serves as Washington Conference Adventist Community Services director. “It was good to go and network in the community for future rebuilding trips.”

Interested in participating in the next Katrina rebuilding trip? Fill out an interest form online at http://washingtonconference.org.

December 01, 2007 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference associate communication director