Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Look at Our Work for SBP in Gentilly, Louisiana

Julia, David, Cindy, Mary, Jackie, and Paul stand in front of Kenneth and Barbara's home

Please enjoy the slide show of our journey to Gentilly, Louisiana. We were blessed to work on the home of Kenneth and Barbara Wiltz. It was a week of hard work, laughter, and blessings.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Volunteers From Across The Country Help SBP Rebuild

Brian, Rebecca, Cindy, Mary, David, Jackie, Julie, Eric, Dean (back row)
(front row): Kenneth and Barbara Wiltz (homeowners) and Paul (c
onstruction manager)

From Alaska to Virginia, volunteers heard about the amazing efforts of St. Bernard Project and traveled from across the country to New Orleans to help rebuild a home. This week, we've become a family as we worked together sanding and mudding walls to get Kenneth and Barbara Wiltz back home in Gentilly, Louisiana. (Read Kenneth and Barbara's story in prior blog.)
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Waiting on a Roof

Caitlin Meyer and William Ansardi, a local homeowner, on a roof in St. Bernard Parish, LA

There is a house silent and empty in St. Bernard Parish. It sits untouched, exactly as it was after the floods receded in August 2009. The home still has a key in the door. The fish tank holds "Katrina" water. Clothes, and photos, and remnants of family life are scattered throughout the home, all ruined in the flood waters.

There is a cooler on the roof, still there from the homeowners who waited there with a small amount of food and water to keep them alive until rescuers arrive.

Caitlin climbed on the roof with a local resident, William Ansardi, who spoke with her of the lives torn apart by the storm. They spoke about what it was like to wait on a hot roof day after day, hoping for rescue.

Rebuilding is happening in many areas, thanks to St. Bernard Project. But this home no longer houses a family. So we have only remnants to give us clues to their former life here before the storm.

Helping Kenneth and Barbara Move Home

Cindy Meyer, David Matney, and Mary Matney with
homeowner Barbara (sitting) and Kenneth Wiltz

St. Bernard Project has expanded operations into Gentilly, Louisiana. We are are honored to work on their first house in New Orleans Parish. Kenneth and Barbara are anxiously waiting to move back home after almost four years of struggling to do just that. Kenneth describes the last few years as being "off track". He said he felt like he was floating through life, rather than being on solid ground supported by a home, community, and family.

He describes the joyful moment when Zack Rosenburg, Co-Founder of St. Bernard Project, walked in the door and declared "we can do this - we can get you back home."

This is an especially critical situation. Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago, and Kenneth spends his days providing the loving care and guidance she needs to survive in a confusing world.