Samaritan’s Purse volunteering: Cleaning up in Augusta, GA… ;)

We have been in Augusta, Georgia for a week now.  It took us an extra day to find a campground, but we love where we ended up staying, and it has been the perfect place to base camp out of for my Samaritan’s Purse volunteering tribe.

Vaughn, Beth, Jake, and Thomas have been going in every day to help Samaritan’s Purse with clean up efforts after an ice storm came through Augusta and wreaked havoc several weeks ago.
They get up in the wee hours of the morn, and leave the campground about 6:30 am.  They make it to the hosting church, where SP is mobilized, just in time for devotions in the mornings.  Next, the day volunteers show up (mine get there a little early 😉 ), and everyone breaks up into teams for the day’s work.  Job orders are passed around, and each group’s team leader meets with their team as they line out their day.
Everyone car pools, and they head out to help homeowners affected by the storm.
Ice storm clean up involves a lot of chainsaw work to clean up fallen branches and trees, and to also take down any damaged or dangerous limbs/trees so they don’t fall and hurt anyone.  Some of the work is very dangerous, but there are volunteers that come that are trained in technical tree climbing.
This is Shannon…DSCN2719_004

We first met Shannon in Shuqualak, Mississippi last spring when we went to help with cleanup after a tornado.
He is an arborist (or ‘tree surgeon’) by trade, and is one of the few volunteers that is qualified to climb high into trees and take out threatening branches…

DSCN2726_011 He has a giant slingshot that he uses to shoot a lightweight guide rope over a high branch; he uses that guide to pull a heavier rope over that he will use for climbing.  He let Beth shoot one of his guides over…DSCN2742_027


He really doesn’t have much competition from the other volunteers when it comes to requesting some of these jobs…  LOL!
DSCN2746_031Usually, on a SP cleanup site, there are matching bright orange shirts that dot the scene.  Not here in Augusta this week.  Everyone is bundled up in jackets to try to stay warm as a cold front works its way through the area…DSCN2803_012The kids can’t run saws until they are 18, so they have been hauling the cut up wood…
DSCN2804_013 and neatly stacking it for the homeowners…DSCN2808_017 There are several groups here this week, including a bunch of men from here in Georgia (I think that Vaughn said they call themselves Cutters for Christ)…DSCN2823_032My guys pack a lunch from home, but at the end of the day, they (were invited to) join everyone back at the church, where they eat dinner with the overnight volunteers.  This week there is a group of young men here from the ALERT academy in TX.  Nice boys (mine didn’t show up until after 9 pm tonight because they were playing some football game in the gym with them).  The ALERT men have to sing every night for their supper  😉
DSCN2798_007Dinner is always great – tho I think my crew might be gaining weight from all the fabulous desserts that the church ladies are providing!DSCN2796_005After dinner is ‘Share Time’ where people just share the happenings of the day – how homeowners and themselves were touched, blessings, needs, funny events of the day…  it’s a pretty incredible time of sharing.
Then my guys drive their half hour out to the campground, make their sandwiches for the next day, and call it a night so they can get up and do it again tomorrow.  🙂
There have been over 550 requests for assistance here in Augusta.  So many that SP is extending their stay here another week to be able to help more people.
You know where we’ll be next week.  😀

Lilla Rose

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