Monday, May 19, 2008

Note from Brandi Jones, May 19, 2008

I arrived home and realized that I missed being in Biloxi and I missed the people! The week just went by so fast. It was just a short time to meet so many wonderful people and do something so extraordinary.—I will continue to be inspired by this past week for a very long time to come! It was great to return home and have so much support from my friends and family and my co-workers!—thank you to all of you for your emails, phone calls and kind words!—you’re the best!!!!--- and thank you George for your kind words!—the world is definitely a better place because you!!—thanks for being you!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Note from Tim Smith Friday, May 16

Thursday and Friday were very rewarding and challenging because of the rain showers and thunderstorms. We showed our resilience Thursday with many trips on and off the roof and in spite of everything, we still managed to finish the shingling. We had four other main groups working on “our” house: Waste Management WM, The Hardy Group, Best Buy and Americore volunteers. WM had some workers there all week and other volunteers, like Best Buy, were there for only part of the week. These changes created some challenges with getting to know the new workers and integrating them into the crew.

The challenge of meshing also brought two of my greatest joys from the week. First, our own volunteer, George, was so valuable in helping everyone become more productive. I admire how
George bounced in and out of various tasks, did the little things that others avoided and was so encouraging and helpful all week! Second, on the last work day, Rashad, the 8th grade child of the homeowner, Mary Bunch, began helping to install the vinyl siding. When the family left, he made a point of giving Wes, one of the volunteers Rashad worked with most of the afternoon, a big hug. It was a special moment – this cool kid was really touched by Wes and to notice the affect of a few hours of work on a young man from a single parent home was a blessing to see.

Note from George E. Coaston Jr. Friday 5/16/08

I would like to say that I had fun working with our PG&E team. We were all willing to learn something new and jump in wherever and whenever we were needed. We worked with so many wonderful people to complete the work is such a short amount of time. There were about 2000 volunteers on the building sites. Ten new houses were constructed in Biloxi, twenty new houses in Pascagoula and thirty houses were rehabbed in Gulfport. In addition, there was a staging area on the beaches of Biloxi that served as a framing site for other homes throughout the Gulf Coast Region.
I will like to thank PG&E for allowing us to work on this project. I would like to encourage PG&E to continue to support events and others like it. I would like to be selfish right now and volunteer for our next event.

Amber: - Excellent job on getting onto the roof and overcoming your fear of heights. All of your siding work was right on. The drive to continue to complete the work was motivational.

Brandi: - Your ability to work under pressure was extremely appreciated. The dash to complete insulation installment was remarkable. The weather was extremely hot and you kept on going. Also, that final paint job to the inside of the house gave the home a feeling of completion even though construction will not be completed for another week.

Tim: I think that I would call you, “The Go Too Man”. No matter what the tailboard was in the morning, you were one of the first persons with their hand up to work on one of the harder projects. No matter how hot it got on the roof, you stayed to complete the work at hand. You were able to adapt to many different jobs and you nailed in the last piece of siding on the side of the house (Smile).
Thank you all for being a part of one of the most worthwhile experiences of my life. Thank you PG&E for making it all possible. I would also like to thank our families, friends and co-workers for all of your support.

Final Day of Work - Brandi Jones

The rain did delay the progress on the house today. We were inside trying to primer the walls, but it was so dark from the stormy skies that it was hard to see. George saw the need for some work lights and headed off the store to buy some.—George is amazing and before we knew it, he was back and we were all painting primer on the walls! The pictures from that day really capture how dark it was outside, due to the stormy weather. It was a very eventful day as along with trying to accomplish tasks on the house, we were able to meet the homeowner and her two children and have President Carter and Mrs. Carter come by and take photos with the volunteers and the homeowner. I was able to paint a room with Mary Bunch, homeowner, along with her daughter and son, Dominique and Rashad. They are an adorable family and it was great to get to know them. Dominique’s favorite color is pink and I told her I would send her something “pink” from California and her little face lit up and she ran over to her mom and said, “Mom, Miss Brandi is going to send me something pink from California!” She is just so cute! Her brother Rashad loves the color red and video games and he was such a gentlemen and helped us paint his sisters room! Mary gave me their address and our assistant house lead said that their mailbox will be put up by the end of the week, so I’ll be putting a package together from California for the kids!

Friday evening was fun as a few volunteers and our assistant house lead, Sarah, got together and had dinner at the Hard Rock CafĂ©. George’s cousins also came up and his cousin Cornelius brought us some homemade praline candy!---oh, my goodness, that candy is yummy!!!!! It was so nice of them to drive from New Orleans to Biloxi that night to see us before we left and bring us candy! J It was an amazing week and the dinner together was a perfect way to wrap up the week. I was so fortunate to meet such wonderful people and to forge new friendships!
I have been so honored all week long to be a part of something so extraordinary. I want to thank PG&E for this opportunity to be in Biloxi and for PG&E’s continued support of our local community. I also want to thank all my fellow co-workers in Redding for their continued generosity!!!—I would not have had an essay to write or pictures to send without all of you making all the local events possible! I am so honored and fortunate to work with all of you!


Final Day of Work - Amber-Michele Douglas

Once the rain subsided, I tackled the siding again. I did not want to leave until it was done, but with the weather, we were not able to complete the task. The family who would own the home came today as well to put in their Sweat Equity hours. I was able to speak with the kids that would occupy the home and they were soooooo excited! The daughter was eager to paint and the son wanted to hurry and get started hammering. Because the home was not complete, we did not do an official ceremony, however we did do a mini-one with the family. The ceremony was so emotional when I was asked to speak I couldn’t get the words together. Anyone who knows me knows it is NEVER hard for me to speak, so I am sure you can imagine how I felt at this time. I didn’t want to leave.

Thanks again to all that supported me in this endeavor and I am so looking forward to next year!


Final Day of Work - George E. Coaston, Jr.

Today we started with more strong winds and rain. We were afraid that our work today would be limited. For the first two hours, we were in the house to avoid a server lighting storm. With the skies so dark, it was hard to see in the house that we were working on. After about an hour of waiting to start work, I left with one of the crew leads to purchase work lights for our house and the two other houses next to ours. After we returned with the lights, we start the day’s work in the house by picking up safety hazards and priming the walls.

Today, I also got the opportunity to meet the family who will be moving into the house we were working on. Mary, the mother, works for Home Depot and will be moving into her first home thanks to the generosity of Habitat for Humanity. Mary has two children, Rashad, 14, and Dominique, 11. The whole family was on site helping to build their new home. It was my pleasure to help them with their dream. President and Mrs. Carter visited our home site towards the end of the day today. They checked out the home we were building and thanked us for volunteering. They also took time to take photographs with the volunteers.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day Four of Work - Amber-Michele Douglas

Well as you can see from the above postings, weather was definitely a challenge for us today! I decided I would attempt to install siding. While it may have seemed to be a simple task, I learned the siding has to be even all around the home. Measurements had to be exact and most pieces had to be special cut. I had a nice time today because it gave me a chance to meet more volunteers that were working on the house. I met quite a few interesting characters and made new friends.

Closing Ceremonies were tonight. As I entered to ballroom, I noticed Fred Brewer, our liaison between Habitat and PG&E. I stood in the back with him and chatted until I heard an uproar in the front of the room. He said, “Oh, Jimmy Carter must have just walked in.” I darted away from Fred just to see if I could get a close look at him. By the time I made it to the front, I didn’t see Mr. Carter so I assumed I missed him. Not the case at all, I was sitting TWO ROWS IN FRONT OF HIM! As he walked from the stage I snapped a few good shots of he and Mrs. Carter. The ceremonies were very nice! Videos of the week were played and the announcement for next years Carter Build location were announced