Elmore City’s Other Claim To Fame

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today was another fun and productive day for our team. Pat shared a wonderful devotion this morning about peace. Our devotion times are so meaningful and set the foundation for the rest of the day.

Today was not as sunny as yesterday, but was still warm. Several of the team members spent most of the day outside preparing lumber for the new stairs and installing siding. The Volunteers in Mission (VIM) coordinators working with us today put the roof on the new porch and started hanging the drywall. Since the concrete was sawn by a contractor yesterday, Henry was able to prepare the trench for the new plumbing. Hopefully, the plumbing supplies will be delivered tomorrow. More milestones were reached on the new stairs. The first run of steps and the landing were completed and the opening for the second run was cut upstairs.

doppler-radar-signDuring lunch some of the team members mentioned a plaque “downtown” about the first tornado warning issued based on a Doppler radar signature, so after work we walked over to get a picture of it. A little Internet research shows that Gary England was a Oklahoma television meteorologist for many years and was the first to have Doppler radar at his station and was the first person to use it to alert his viewers of a possible tornado. And that just happened to be right here in Elmore City. Between that historic event and Footloose, why had we never heard of Elmore City before the NOMADS project?

A Productive Day!

Monday, February 27, 2017

What a wonderful day it was today. It started off cloudy but then the sun came out and it was warm with a gentle breeze rather than the wind we have been having. Wonderful!!

Gwen led our devotional time this morning which we moved to 7:30 to try to be working by 8:30. Gwen did a great job leading us and we did make it to the job site by 8:30. It seemed everyone felt good about what we accomplished today. We divided up into 3 teams. We were on the porch team along with Gwen and we had a good day. We put up all the hangers for the rafters, the rafters, the roof decking and the felt today. That was more than we thought we would do. All that’s left on the porch is the shingles. Gary and Henry were the plumbing team. However, they were limited in what they could do because the VIM coordinators decided against renting the concrete saw we needed and instead elected to have the professionals come cut/remove the portions of the slab that had to be removed for the drains. So when Gary and Harry completed what they could do on the plumbing they became the demolition team on the stairs while we waited on the concrete guys. The stair team was Pat, Barb and Scott. Before they could start they had to move a lot of stuff that was in the way of the new stairs. The old steps were then removed and the stringers built for the first flight of steps and the first landing framed in. They made a lot of progress. There was also a window installed in the kitchen and additional framing on the back wall of the house.  The concrete guys came late this afternoon shortly before we were going to stop work and they ran us out of the house.  They are NOISY and MESSY!!   Some days you work really hard and don’t see a lot of progress. Today we could see the progress. That felt good.

molly-and-gusWhen we got home we visited with Molly and Gus while they got their exercise. Then we went for a walk since it was still so nice out and we needed the exercise. Then had peach pie and ice cream for supper. Yep, supper. Oh and then we had some chips. We had our big meal of the day for lunch so … life is short – eat dessert first, or instead. See you tomorrow.


Happy Day

Sunday February 26, 2017

pat-singing-in-churchIt was another cool day in Elmore City. The high was in the mid fifties but with the wind it felt much cooler. And it stayed cloudy all day. However, the gray clouds didn’t put a damper on our worship at Elmore City UMC. The team all went to Sunday School and then worship. Pat even sang a special with the praise team, which we all enjoyed. The pastor’s message was very good and went right along with our Sunday School lesson.

lunch-at-happy-daysAfter church we all went to Pauls Valley, about 15 miles away, to Happy Days Diner. It is as one would expect of a 50’s style diner along the lines of the Happy Days TV show. There was a Fonzarella and other menu items from the TV show. They serve breakfast all day plus lunch and dinner entrees. Gwen and Gary had been here earlier in the week and enjoyed the meal so we went back today as a team. There are some poor ratings on Facebook, but our experience was good. Everyone enjoyed the food and our service was good so we can recommend this restaurant.

We rested and did some planning after getting back to the rig this afternoon and then had our usual Sunday evening team meeting in Gary and Gwen’s rig. We got to know our new team members, Barb and Henry from Iowa, a little better and made some plans for tomorrow. Hopefully we will be able to just jump in and start accomplishing some things in the morning without spending time in the planning stage. Oh, and Gwen served us apple pie and ice cream. Good stuff. Thanks, Gwen! Hope everyone has a great week and check back in tomorrow to see what we get done.

BRRRR! and Another Post from the Past

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oh, my goodness it was cold this morning. 26 per our thermometer and even colder per weather service. Therefore we decided to stay in and stay warm. There was laundry to do and tax preparation to be done. Our additional team members arrived this afternoon and we look forward to working with them this week. This now gives us a complete team and hopefully we will accomplish much for our home owner. It was a beautiful sunny day, but it stayed cold all day with the high in the low 50s. Working on taxes made us think of our first full year of NOMADS work. We came home from Pensacola, which we blogged about last Saturday (Feb 18), and stayed home for the holidays then headed to Florida. Below is a copy of our journal of that time that we never posted because we had stopped blogging.

We departed on our first adventure of 2015 early Friday, January 2nd for the first leg of our trip to Melbourne, FL. It was a rainy morning, but nothing could dampen our excitement of traveling down the road again. Lowes Live Oak FL.jpg

We overnighted at Lowe’s in Live Oak, FL and then continued on to Wickham Park in Melbourne on Saturday, January 3. It was a bright and sunny, perfect Florida day.

We were in Melbourne for a 3 week NOMADS project at Emmanuel UMC. It was primarily a painting project. We painted the exterior of the sanctuary, education building, Corton Hall (fellowship hall) and parsonage. We made wonderful new friends since we did not know any of our team members before the project. Our team leaders Bill and Marti (MO) were great and we will always cherish them and our fellow team members Waid and Betsy (SC), and Larry and Joan (WI). We accomplished so much for Emmanuel and had great fun. We met wonderful members of the congregation who came to work with us most days. One couple even joined NOMADS. Our agency liaison was Rebecca who was absolutely awesome.

We went to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – an extension of the Space Center and got great pictures of alligators, and all kinds of beautiful birds. We would love to go back and spend another day there.

dels-freeze-flOf course while in Melbourne we ate great food from places such as “Squidlips”, “That Little Restaurant”, “Sand on the Beach” and “Del’s Freeze” (wonderful ice cream) as well as a spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast and several other meals provided by various members of the church.

 There were wonderful walks on the beach, watching the wind surfers, and watching the manatees.

night-launchWhile staying at Wickham Park we had a great view from our back yard and got to view 2 launches from the Kennedy Space Center. What a wonderful experience that was!!

Wickham Park has a great RV Park and lots of bike trails, hiking trails, geocaches, a disc golf course, lakes and much, much more. Scout loved it there.

This was our first 3 week NOMADS project and we did not want it to end. Great experience! We hope to return to Emmanuel, Pastor Pam, Rebecca and all the others in 2016.

And we did. We will have to tell you about that project at a later date. The 2016 Emmanuel project was our first project to lead. Hope everyone is having a great weekend and you are praying for the services you will attend tomorrow at your church. Never forget to be in prayer for the one who brings the message and everyone who will be hearing it. Same time tomorrow – or there about.

A (Tourist) Day Well Spent

Friday, February24, 2017

It was considerably cooler this morning, 38, and predictions are that it will be even colder the next 2 days. The low tonight is predicted to be 29. Guess the electric blanket will be nice tonight.

We started the day with a team breakfast next door at the Badger Den, a small local cafe. It is across the street from the high school and the mascot for Elmore High School is the badger, thus the name. Interesting, the school is on “open campus” meaning the kids can leave campus and go to the Badger Den or the two gas stations up the street to eat. Today while we were there our waitress left to “take some food over to some of the kids.” The food was very good with everyone leaving thinking that breakfast might be the only meal they would need today. The lady who waited on us and the cook were both very nice and attentive to our needs. Would definitely go there again.

oklahoma-city-skylineAfter breakfast we left for Oklahoma City – the capital of Oklahoma. Our destination was the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, 63 miles away. You first come to Norman where we went last week, then Moore where NOMADS have worked tornado rebuilds in the past and then OK City. It is really solid metro area from Norman on into the city. The skyline is nice, but it’s a city, with traffic.

The Memorial is right downtown, where the Murrah Federal Building was located. The area around the memorial was nice and we certainly did not feel unsafe in the area. For those of you that might not remember, April 19, 1995 started as a beautiful spring day in Oklahoma City, but everything changed at 9:02am when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Murrah Federal Building killing 168 people including 19 children.

Jesus Wept Memorial

We parked about a block away and just prior to entering the memorial area is the Jesus Wept Memorial. The Jesus Wept Memorial is on the grounds of the Saint Joseph Old Cathedral which was significantly damaged during the bombing. Jesus is depicted as turning away from the bombing and facing a black granite wall with 168 niches where prayer candles can be placed.

The National Memorial is an outside area on the grounds of the old Murrah Building. On the opposite end of the Memorial from the Catholic church is the First United Methodist Church which was also severely damaged in the blast. Immediately prior to walking into the Memorial area with all the beauty and grandeur, you see some old looking chain link fence. This is a portion of the fence that cordoned off the bomb site immediately after the blast. This is where from almost immediately after the bombing continuing to today that people have stuffed notes, prayers, flowers and other tokens of love and hope. 200 feet of the original fence has been left to give people the continued opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope. Entrance into the actual Memorial is thru the east or west gate – two huge stone slabs. The east gate represents 9:01 and the innocence of the city before the attack and the west gate represents 9:03 when the city and our country were forever changed and the hope that came from the horror in the days following the bombing. Between the two gates are the reflection pool that is where 5th Street was located, the Field of Empty Chairs where the Murrah Building was loacated, the Survivor Tree, Rescuers’ Orchard, Children’s Area and Survivor Wall. On the opposite side of the street was the Water Resources Building which is now the Museum.

After spending some time wondering around the Memorial area we walked over to the Museum.  On entering the Museum we were greeted by a very nice lady who oriented us to everything, gave us directions to the second floor – the start of our journey – and sold us our tickets.

This is the 68th stamp in our National Parks Passport

Senior admission is $12.00, regular $15.00. The Museum was excellently done. They did a $10 million update about 2 years ago and they have made excellent use of technology in the upgrade. After McVeigh was executed the FBI donated many more evidence items to the Museum such as the car he was driving when he left Oklahoma City, the gun and knife he had on his person and many more which were incorporated into the displays. Gwen and Gary had been to the Museum previously and were very impressed with the changes today and were very glad they went back, so even if you have been before you might want to consider another visit.

On entering the museum you view a short introductory video, then walk through an area with an interactive display table and other exhibits on the history of the site. You then go in to a room with a table such as would have been in the Water Resources Board Meeting room and listen to a recording of a meeting that was going on at the time of the explosion. The recording started at 9:00 and 2 minutes into recording you hear the explosion and hear the beginning of the chaos that occurred as people tried to escape the building. There are then videos and exhibits on the rescue and recovery efforts. Thousands of people were involved both on and off site. At the same time the criminal investigation was ongoing with many, many more people involved. There are exhibits and videos on those efforts as well. There is a large viewing window where you can sit and look out over the entire memorial site and reflect. We are very glad we went to the Memorial and Museum today. It’s very moving, and very well done.

While you can’t say you had fun walking through such a tragic and unnecessary event we feel it is definitely meaningful, worthwhile and a highly recommend visit. Having been involved in Fire and EMS and Emergency Management for many years, the efforts of the Oklahoma City Fire and Rescue, along with all the others from all over the country really touched us. After about 13 hours no other survivors were found. One of the teams flown in to assist spoke about how disappointing that was to their team. We know that those responders’ lives were forever changed and our prayers are with them today even after all the years. We must continue to remember the horrible moments in our history if we are to prevent their repetition.

After leaving downtown, we went back to Jason’s Deli for lunch then to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for next week. After that it was time to go to the grocery store and make the drive home. It was a day well spent.

We know this is a really long post but we promise tomorrow will be short.

Semper Gumby

Thursday, February 23, 2017

We haven’t given you a sunrise picture in several days and even though we are in the “city”we still have wonderful sunrises. Love to start the day with a beautiful sunrise. Just makes you feel so blessed.

Semper Gumby means always flexible, a take off from the Marine Corps motto Semper Fidelis – always faithful. When we lead a team one of the things we always cover at our opening meeting is Semper Gumby. NOMADS must always be flexible. Well, this week we have been so flexible that we have become contortionists. We are now on plan E, F, G, H….?? Who knows. Really, it’s fine. Just a little funny. the-noteOur home owner thought about it over night, and after discussing it with his family, left us a nice note telling us he decided it would be better to have his main bath on the first level and have a little half bath upstairs. That way if he were to become unable to go up the stairs he could just live downstairs. Fortunately, everything we have done this week needed to be done for any of the plans. We hadn’t started the new plumbing. We just removed the old so nothing changed except the drawings. So, guess we really didn’t have to be too flexible – just use a lot of eraser.

We got a lot done today but we were so busy we didn’t take very many pictures. We will try to get more next week. The Divas of Destruction completed the new subfloor for the upstairs bathroom. Gwen finished calking the outside siding. The guys removed the old kitchen wall and then started the new front porch, digging the holes and pouring concrete for the support poles for the 10’x10′ front porch. They also cut all the rafters for the new porch to be installed next week. The porch will have a pitch roof and should be a nice addition to the house. The Divas also learned to install windows and almost completed their first install. Trim, etc. will be added later.

The 2 VIM coordinators delivered all our supplies which they do daily and then stayed and worked with us, preparing the exterior for some new windows and began working on plumbing. It was nice to have them hang out with us today. It’s been another great week and now we will try to get some rest, get caught up on our laundry, work on taxes and maybe have some fun. We plan to meet for breakfast at the Badger Den in the morning and will then decide if we have enough energy left to do any touristy things.

“Very Exciting, Awesome!”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pat started our day with an excellent devotion reminding us of the Butterfly Effect – the concept that small causes can have large effects – the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado. We talked about how everything we say and do, good and bad has effects that we may never know or see but the ripple effects can be huge. We need to be about being the hands and feet of God no matter how we are received. We also had a good time of sharing and prayer. We were all so thankful that Gary had listened to that still small voice and returned to visit with our homeowner last evening. We are all in agreement that we really want to make his home as close to the way he wants it as we can.

We started work on Plan D for our homeowner. It’s sort of a combination of Plan A and C. He doesn’t want us to move his bathroom down stairs for some very valid reasons. His case manager and we had hoped to limit his trips up and down the stairs but we will settle for making the steps safer and easier for him to navigate. He is very excited about the planned improvements and the work we have already done. We told you last night that Gary left the homeowner with the plan and a red pen to mark changes. He did mark up changes and left us a note on the floor plan “Very exciting, Awesome!” Those comments really energized us to get busy. So, today we patched some holes on the exterior to help protect the interior repairs from moisture and vermin. The demo divas sort of split up today to divide and conquer. We didn’t have as many laughs without our girl power trio though. The upstairs bathroom floor was patched and is almost ready for the final sub-floor installation. That should be completed first thing in the morning. The insulation installation was completed. Also, the new wall for the kitchen was installed and the old wall will be demoed in the morning. Doesn’t necessarily sound like a lot, but it was a day of hard work.

In case you are new to the blog, when we are working with NOMADS. Our schedule is to start the day with team devotion, usually at 8:00 but on this project because of the drive to Maysville it is at 7:40. break-timeWe start work at 8:30, we have a break from 10:15-10:30, lunch is 12:-1:00, afternoon break at 2:15 and stop work at 4:00. Doesn’t sound like a bad schedule, right? However, we work really hard doing physical labor that some of the us geezers haven’t done in a while. You would be amazed at what our teams can accomplish with that schedule. God just takes our efforts and our hearts and uses his math to multiply our efforts. Hope we get lots done tomorrow as it is suppose to be another beautiful day. We are making some plans for the weekend so be sure to check back in. Thanks for stopping by.