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-with-wall
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.

national-park-passport-stamp
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.

Plan A, B, C, …..

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Today was gorgeous day in Maysville, OK. We have really been blessed with wonderful weather. We spent a good deal of time this morning working on getting our master plan on paper so we would lay out the downstairs. We really wanted to make the steps to the second level safer for the home owner. Currently they are too steep and have minimal to no hand rails depending on the section of steps. He told us he has fallen down the steps 3 times. All we can say is he is a very fortunate man to not have had serious injury.

scott-re-engineering-the-steps
Scott Re-engineering the Steps

After a great deal of study, we gave up on trying to make the current steps safe and determined we will tear out the current steps in order to install steps with the appropriate tread and risers. We also drew up a plan to move the bathroom down stairs, install an efficiency kitchen and living area. This plan is about Plan C.

removing-old-plumbing
Yuck!

The real work began when we started removing the old plumbing and had to remove the main drain pipe. NASTY!! Actually we were pretty neat with it – all things considered.

After all the plumbing was removed, the demolition divas/darling destroyers completed the demolition of the upstairs bath removing all the rotten flooring down to the floor joist. The team also removed old windows on the back wall of the first level, and framed up the opening.

The alcove for the refrigerator was framed and some of the exterior walls were insulated.

The home owner was not available today to discuss the floor plan and arrived just as we were leaving. Our team leader discussed it with him briefly and the home owner requested a copy of our drawing. We really were not sure he was pleased with our plans so Gary went back this evening discussed it all with him in detail and left him the floor plan and a red pen to use to mark up the things he doesn’t like. So come back tomorrow. We may be drawing plan D, or returning to plan A or B. It’s all good. We want our sweet home owner to have safe steps and be happy. Anything else is a bonus.  By the way, click on the pictures to see them full size and remember we love comments.

Starting on the Next House

Monday, February 20, 2017

Today Gwen did our devotion and introduced us to Wisdom Hunters, a daily devotion by Boyd Bailey of Atlanta. She often uses this devotion for her morning quiet time. She and Gary know Mr. Bailey. The one she used today is called “Love is Slow to Anger” and was very good. Check it out.

After devotion it was off to work. Today we started on a very nice 81 year old man’s home. He is such a sweet man who let his children, and then his grandchildren, move into his house next door while he moved into this converted (and unfinished) garage. He is staying in a camper trailer next door while we work on the house and he would go to the trailer and then in a little while he would be back to see what we were doing. Shortly he would go back to the trailer, but then you would look around and he would be walking back down the street toward the house. He is really excited that we are here. The guys today worked on the main entrance that formerly was a garage door and had been framed in with 2 windows and a walk thru door. They aren’t quite through yet and it will need caulking and painting, but looks better already.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They also installed another door that leads to the back yard. With those two things done the home is already much more secure. new-door-after

The ladies really rocked today. They had fun demolishing a bathroom. Everything had been leaking and the floor is rotten. The ladies first removed the shower, commode, and sink/vanity and then removed the old drywall from the walls and ceiling.

The only thing left to in there before starting to rebuild is to remove part of the floor. It was a very productive day for everyone and the home owner was very pleased with our progress.

Hope you had a great start to your week. Stay safe!

Trouble in Elmore City

The Footloose Low-down

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday. We again enjoyed worshiping at First UMC of Elmore City. We went to Sunday School first and spent a good deal of class time sharing with the class the ins and outs of what NOMADS do. Most of them had never heard of NOMADS before we came here – not a surprise. After hearing our story, the Peacemakers quilting group wants to give us some quilts or prayer blankets for the auction at annual meeting to help raise money for projects. That would be really nice!! The class was using a devotional book written by the pastor’s husband for their class study book and we really enjoyed the reading and discussion. the-country-road-through-the-book-of-matthew-by-mike-lovettLater, Mike Lovett, the pastor’s husband, actually gave each NOMADS couple a copy of the book, The Country Road Through the Book of Matthew. The section we reviewed in SS today was quite good. You might want to download a sample. After worship we had a ”pot luck” dinner in the fellowship hall. Isn’t it interesting how in different parts of the country we use different words for the same thing – pot luck, pitch-in, covered dish – all the same thing – and no matter what you call it, it’s always a great meal. The people in Elmore City didn’t disappoint. We won’t need any more food today!

It just so happens that we were able to discuss the movie “Footloose” and events that occurred in Elmore City with people who were actually here at the time. We even talked to a gentleman who was on the school board at the time (he was a little hard of hearing). The year was 1980. There had never been a prom dance for Elmore City High School because since the founding of the city in 1898, public dancing had been illegal by ordinance. The story goes that some of the adults and students took the issue to the school board requesting permission to have a prom with dancing. It became a huge issue dividing the community. According to the school board member’s wife, some of the pastors were totally against it, but that her pastor “a young man” supported the kids. She said he found all the places in the Bible that refer to dancing and then went to the school board meeting and read them to the board ending by saying that “if it’s in the Bible, it’s not wrong.” Some were in favor of it because “it would keep the kids from going up on the ‘mountain’ and drinking beer and dancing.”

minutes-of-the-famous-march-3-1980-elmore-city-school-board-meeting
Minutes of the Famous March 3, 1980 Elmore City School Board Meeting

In the end it was decided they could have the prom with dancing, but with stiff supervision. The students could not come and go and they “corralled ‘em up and didn’t let ‘em out til the next morning after breakfast.” The event put Elmore City on the map with reporters from San Francisco, New York and People Magazine all in town to report on the prom. The media coverage caught the attention of the screenwriter and the movie “Footloose” was based on the events.  The locals were all also quick to tell us that some of the stories and the movie were not so accurate portrayals of their sweet little town. Some didn’t want to even talk about it – seemingly embarrassed by it all.

trouble-in-elmore-city-people-magazine-archive
Click to read the entertaining (if not completely factual) article

We found this story in the archives of People with some of the perhaps not so factual information. There was also a recreation of the 1980 prom on the 30th anniversary. We found several other articles that (if you are REALLY interested) you can find with a simple Internet search.

 

 

Flashback to our first Disaster Rebuild

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It was another beautiful day in Elmore City. It was cloudy first thing this morning, cleared and was really nice. It was a stay at home day with cleaning, laundry and accounting work to be done. The newest addition to our team, Pat and Scott arrived early afternoon. We worked with them on our first DR project in Gulf Breeze, FL and at Vashti Childrens home in Georgia. We are so glad to be with them again. They are a great addition to our team and we look forward to working with them the next 2 weeks. We took enough time for some walking for exercise but otherwise it was pretty much a working day. Pat and Scott being here made us think of our first NOMADS trip after our return from Alaska in September 2014. (the last time we blogged.)

gulf-breeze-team
Gulf Breeze DR Team

We worked the first 2 weeks of the Gulf Breeze Disaster Rebuild Project, November 3-14, 2014. We had a great team that really came together well. We knew no one when we arrived, but by the end of the second week we really, really didn’t want to leave. Just loved those folks. Gulf Breeze flooded in the spring of 2014. It rained over 26 inches in less than 24 hours and there was wide spread flooding. The house we worked on had been mucked out and partially rebuilt. The homeowner had used all their FEMA money and had no choice but to move back in the house with the kitchen inoperable, no appliances or cabinets, and no interior doors. The drywall was up but still needed some taping and mudding and lots of sanding to be done and then all the painting. Most of the tile work was done. A precious family of four – a grandmother, her daughter and 2 granddaughters were living in the unfinished home. They had a little dorm size refrigerator, and a microwave and some air mattresses on the floor and that’s how they were living. The daughter and her boyfriend worked on the house at night and on the weekends, but they were just overwhelmed and exhausted by the time we arrived. They told us that their puppy woke them up during the night of the flooding. Water was up about mid-calf. They used a kitchen knife to cut through drywall to get upstairs to a bonus room and safely away from the rising water. They were rescued by boat. So, we finished up the home for the beautiful family that lived there and presented them with a Bible signed by the team. It was a lot of really hard work but very, very rewarding.

 

While in Gulf Breeze we also had lots of fun. blue angels 1.jpgThe Blue Angels were performing their last show of the season so we got to watch their practices right from our campsites and then we all went to the final performance on Sunday afternoon. We also ate really good. We found the largest and best seafood market – Joe Patti- we have ever visited. On one of team member’s suggestion, we bought some of the Royal Red shrimp. And of course we also had an order of the beignets from the food truck right outside the market. The Royal Reds were phenomenal.

Overall – it was a great two weeks – such a blessing to be able to participate –and we highly recommend others find a way to participate in similar mission work. You will be so blessed.

Tomorrow we will have church and covered dish dinner. NOMADS really enjoy eating and maybe we will find out more about Elmore City and Footloose.