A group of Florida volunteers who were in Minot this past week have Hope Village's record so far for coming the longest distance to help with flood recovery.
Eight members of Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in Lecanto, Fla., joined by the Buffalo, N.Y., grandson of one of the couples came about 2,066 miles to labor on flooded homes while staying in Hope Village.
The men were dismantling a house next to the Souris River in northwest Minot early in the week. Future volunteers will be rebuilding a new home for the property owner, a Vietnam veteran who is experiencing medical issues.
Volunteers from Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in Lecanto, Fla., tear down a house in northwest Minot Tuesday so other volunteers can begin the rebuilding.
Jack Holeman, front, and Mike Hall pry pieces of lumber from a house frame. The Florida volunteers spent about a week in Minot to help with flood recovery.
of Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in Lecanto, Fla., paints a stairwell in a home
in northwest Minot that was damaged by the 2011 flood.
"It's pretty well rotted out," the Rt. Rev. James Adams of Shepherd of the Hills said of the home that had 9 feet of water in it. "About the only thing to do is raze it and put in a new foundation and build another house."
As for the homeowner, he said, "He will have a new beginning, hopefully."
Although it was a job to be done cautiously, the five Florida men and 14-year-old Zach Nadeau, who earned the nickname "Sledge," were in their element in tearing down the house.
"We have enjoyed it. It's tiring work," Adams said.
The Florida church learned of Minot's need through the Rev. Mary Johnson at All Saints Episcopal Church in Minot. Deacons Mike Hall and his wife, Linda Liebert-Hall, of Shepherd of the Hills had been ordained in Fargo five years ago and knew Johnson.
"It's been a long time in planning," Liebert-Hall said of the Minot trip. "We started talking about it when Mother Mary Johnson from All Saints sent out the information. We said we need to do this."
Determined to come to Minot, church members began holding fundraisers.
"We have a really great congregation who supports us, supports all our missions," Adams said.
Church members have been involved in other mission work, including traveling to the Dominican Republic. But the Minot mission was the first domestic trip sponsored by their local church. Volunteers were in Minot from Saturday through Thursday, making a trip to Medora before heading home.
The volunteers performed a variety of assignments while staying in Hope Village.
The three women with the group began the week painting primer on the lower level of a house for an older couple and doing yard work for a military member serving in Germany.
Painting one's own house can seem like a chore, but painting to help someone in need is a pleasure, volunteer Linda Papke said.
"We want to do it right for them," she said.
Homeowner Spencer McPeak was pleased with the help from the Florida group and from other volunteers who have assisted his family.
"It's the greatest thing there is," he said. "If it wouldn't have been for these people, there wouldn't be a lot of work done. It's too much for me."
Adams said it is no surprise that churches around the country are sending volunteers to Minot because people do care and will step up to help.
"It doesn't amaze me that people do this," he said. "When it comes down to helping one another, the goodness is there. We can talk about all the evil in the world and everything else, but the goodness is there."