Buildin’ and Fallin’ (the usual)

On Wednesday we started to see the progress we’d been working on all week. My group spent the week reflooring a trailer home that was destroyed during the hurricane back in September. Our 11 peeps and a few from a church in Wisconsin have been working tirelessly (with power tools!!!) to re-insulate, sand down, and replace the flooring. On Wedneday we got all the floors installed! It was so great to look back and see the work we’ve done and the impact we’re going to leave on this family. Since we were replacing the floor, it was only a matter of time before someone fell through the (not yet fixed) floor (good job, Meredith!), but once someone did, so did everyone else! Looking back on the week, we had many things to laugh about, but especially that. Thursday we re-insulated the walls and got drywall put up throughout most of the house. It was our last day, and we were all teary-eyed leaving the site as we saw all our hard work paying off. Truly a great moment.

Only one day was a little rainy and actually cold, but it ended sunny and warm, so we lucked out. This experience has been one for the books, I never thought I’d be in such a beautiful place working on disaster relief, but here we are! Everyday felt so rewarding knowing how we were making a difference. This is my second year doing ASB, and I’m sad I have to wait a whole year to do it all over again! All of these people I’ve met through NW ASB have truly impacted me in a way I’ll never be able to explain. I’ve made some of my best friends through the last two years with this organization, and I’m sad next year will be my last year! We made memories to last a lifetime, and left feeling accomplished. I have only positive things to say about both of my experiences with ASB, and all I have left to say is that I wish we had another week together.

Until next year, ASB.

Buildin’ and Beachin’

It’s Thursday, our second to last day here. We can’t believe how fast our time here is flying by! Today we only had a half day of working so we could spend the afternoon sightseeing. We drove down to St. Augustine to rebuild a jetty that had been partially destroyed by the recent weather conditions. Somehow all of us Midwesterners thought 65 degrees and sunny felt very cold and worthy of long pants and a sweatshirt, so we were thankful for something to get us moving and working hard. We shoveled sand to fill holes and level out the beach where they were moving the rocks to and from the jetty to make it sturdier. Our hardwork definitely paid off with the sight of some dolphins right near us in the inlet when we were getting close to finishing! Once we finished our morning task we split into two groups, one going on a marsh walk with a park ranger, and the other getting a nature talk on black bears by a volunteer naturalist. We enjoyed lunch at the state park and drove to the beach in the afternoon! Although it was a only 60 degrees, we enjoyed a few hours at the beach before returning to Jacksonville for dinner and night time activities. Today was a great day, as was the whole week, because we felt as though the things we were doing were not only enjoyable but actually making a real impact by benefitting the habitat and the community, and it was all-around rewarding for all of us. Our team has bonded so much this week and really grown closer and become much better at working together to tackle a project. Tomorrow, we take on Jacksonville for the last time!