ASP”Rejuvenating” is the word that comes to mind as I describe my second trip as a member of the Appalachia Service Project to Hinton, West Virginia. Working with the youth of Community United Methodist Church and helping others in need has a way of cleansing the soul and recharging the heart. I joined 34 others, including 25 youth 14-25 years old, forming five teams of seven each. My team worked on the 75 year- old home of an EMT/volunteer firefighter with a heart condition, who could not do the work himself. We replaced the newspaper insulation and wood siding on his home with fiberglass insulation, OSB board, a moisture barrier, and vinyl siding.
This was the first trip for my 14 year-old son, Greg, who came with little construction experience and left with lessons that will impact the rest of his life. Greg worked under a trailer, digging and pouring footers to support its sagging floor. Despite the fifteen inches of clearance and the dirty work, he enjoyed the week as he built relationships with the other team members as well as the Appalachian families. He, too, found this week to exceed his expectations and looks forward to returning next year.
Other groups from Massachusetts and Maryland joined us for a total of 84 volunteers. The teamwork was inspiring and the experience immeasurably rewarding as we developed skills we didn’t even know we had.
– G. Peyton Neatrour, MD