We hope you and yours have had a wonderful holiday season. Many apologies for the long delays in posting. There has been a lot going which we hope to catch you up on in this post. It is our hope to post weekly on the blog to keep you up to date on all the goings on during the year and the daily entries during the summer.
December was a busy month for us. We had our second board meeting on December 12 in Philadelphia. It was a very productive meeting and we feel ready to tackle all the challenges of being a "new" organization. After the board meeting we headed up to New York for the Mass the Passionists held for the program on December 13 at Our Lady of Monserrate in Bedford Stuyvesant. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, which prevented several people who were planning on coming from being to make it. We had a wonderful turnout of PVs and PV supporters. We want to personally thank everyone who made the trip to Bed-Stuy, it really meant ALOT to us. You are the best!
Next on our agenda was the Winter Break Service Trip from Elms College. Elms has come each December for the past 8 years (with Bruce generously coordinating the trip for us), but this was going to be the first time for us to be a part of the trip and we were really looking forward to it. We picked up Dan at the airport and traveled south to Wyoming County to be with Bruce, Arnie and Kathy. This is where the adventure began. We started hearing reports of a possible snow storm that would be hitting the area Friday afternoon. The students were scheduled to arrive Friday afternoon. Luckily they arrived in the morning and then it began to snow, and boy did it snow. When we woke up on Saturday morning there was 18 inches of heavy snow on the ground and we had no electricity. We figured heat wise we would be ok since we have gas heat, however we found out that you need electricity to run the gas the heat. ooops! Dan and Bruce were shoveling fools, shoveling out the cars and the walkway. We started hearing that the power would not be back on until Monday evening or possibly as late as Christmas. We couldn't get out to the Elms students who were out in Brenton at the ASP building and their phone lines were down. Lo and behold Saturday afternoon there college bus drives up with Sr. Maureen. I guess being from Massachusetts, their bus driver and bus were well equipped for the snow. We found out the students were fine, but not only did they not have power, they did not have water. Unfortunately, all the service opportunities set up for the students involved the schools (which were closed), a toy fund (which was postponed) and a home repair site (which we needed electricity for and the roads to the site were impassable) After a quick strategizing session we decided to meet at the Food Bank in Mullens the following day, since they had power and most importantly warmth! The students were able to do work in the food bank and go on a few home visits and then it was decided that they would head back to Massachusetts. It was a bit of a disappointment for the students and for us, but it was a great reminder that we have to be flexible and have a sense of humor, two important parts of being a PV! When we headed out at the same time as the Elms students we stopped in Charleston to get a hotel room, we got the last room in a five story hotel FULL of people without power. When we were able to see the news reports we found out that 2/3 of Wyoming County was without power and many of those customers wouldn't be getting the power back until Christmas at the earliest. They did set up shelters in Mullens and at Glen Fork Grade School so people could be warm and have a good meal. I can only imagine how long it will take to get everyone's power back on, especially up in the hollers.
So that was our exciting December. Lots of memories. It is rather ironic, the last big snowstorm Wyoming County had was back in 1998 when we were in the county checking out possible service opportunity for the program. Now 12 years later, we are starting a new phase of the life of the program in the same way.
TGIA's Christmas Party with members and family
After the Mass, Fr. Lucian and Patti
The Mass was the first time in awhile that all the TGIA leaders were together, perfect photo op.
The beginning of the snow, very pretty
This picture is out the front door of our house in Pineville. Bruce and Dan already had shoveled the deck and a path to the truck.
Looking down the street, back towards the house. We were lucky in that every so often a truck with a plow on the front came through and plowed our street. Our street was in better shape that the main road through Pineville!
Dan shoveling out the van. The afternoon before we couldn't get the van to go up and over the railroad tracks so we had to leave it at the old Pineville Jr. High. Unfortunately, that also meant more shoveling just to get it back up to the road. Luckily Bruce and Dan are shoveling machines! (We did help some, but they insisted on doing it themselves : ) )
Dan trying to stay warm. Luckily we have blankets for 50 volunteers!
Staying warm and eating anything that didn't need to be cooked, since our stove was electric. Not the healthiest of diets, but you have to eat right?
There was lots and lots of time to catch up