Ten Months After Harvey the “Faithful Ten” Get the Job Done
By: Sherri Gragg
As Hurricane Harvey’s rains began to fall, a group of old friends from Clear Lake UMC mobilized to do the work they do best- putting lives back together again. More than ten months later, they are still on the job.
The Magnitude of Harvey
The statistics surrounding the damage left behind by Hurricane Harvey are almost impossible to comprehend. Within a two-day period, the city of Houston received a staggering 31.2 inches of rain. According to the National Hurricane Center, Harvey is the second most costly storm in history.
But perhaps the most tangible expression of Harvey’s magnitude is found in the tireless dedication of a group of ten retirees from Clear Lake UMC who are still picking up coffee thermoses and tool belts each morning before they head out to bring hope and restoration to the hardest hit communities within the Texas Conference.
Every single day.
The Faithful Ten
“They have been going out almost every day since Harvey,” said Jordy Chalupnik, Volunteer Disaster Coordinator for Clear Lake UMC. “So far we have worked on 120 houses and two UMC churches.”
It isn’t a job the Faithful Ten can do alone. With Chalupnik’s careful oversight, Clear Lake UMC has deployed volunteer groups from all over the United States to work alongside the men. In the beginning of the effort, there was an abundance of helping hands but as the months have dragged on, the numbers have trickled.
One of the men, Mike Crane, asserts that there is still work to be done and that every volunteer counts. “We don’t see the numbers now to come in and help. There are still jobs everyone can do. There is still room for everyone to be involved. You don’t have to be a skilled laborer to participate.”
Clear Lake Business Manager, Bill Gaupp, says the group are insistent that they receive no accolades for their service, which is a natural overflow of their love for Christ. “It is our purpose that sustains us,” Crane said, “How can we sit comfortably in our own homes knowing so many others are not?”
A Compassionate Response to Suffering
Crane believes it is difficult to understand the depth of suffering Harvey victims have endured from a distance. To truly grasp their losses, volunteers need to take time to listen to them. This week, Clear Lake UMC has hosted a relief group from Pennsylvania. As Crane led them in working on much needed repairs on one woman’s home, she brought out photos from her experience to share with the group. As she leafed through the photographic evidence of her material losses, she began to reveal to them her physical suffering as well. Ten and a half months after Harvey’s landfall, she endures daily pain from chemical burns she received while standing in flood waters for 12 long hours.
“That changed the group a little bit,” Crane said, “They had no idea the amount of suffering people endured.”
Can you hand a construction professional his drill or sweep a floor? Harvey recovery still has a place for you. To join the Faithful Ten, contact Clear Lake UMC and sign up today.