Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mountains to Mississippi....and other places....

I am here on the Atlantic coast of Canada, where my son-in-law Jeff Murray was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church and inducted into the pastorship of Sackville’s St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. Sackville is a small community in New Brunswick, very near the site of the Acadian Rebellion that sent all those "Cajuns" to Louisiana and Mississippi so many years ago. It is a small and beautiful town and home to perhaps the most prestigious under-graduate college in Canada: Mount Allison University. It has been a busy and exciting week with him, my wife Marian and my daughter Lindsay. Tomorrow, we hear his first sermon as the congregation’s new Minister.


The PRC once again reminds you "that we need more than two weeks’ notice for most volunteer housing at this point. We are extremely full for the last two weeks of March and can't add anymore to that time period. We also have other weeks in the spring/summer that are getting full, so advance notice is important. We are suggesting that any overflow teams call Andrea or Nicole at Camp Coastal Outpost for housing, as they also can house about 300 and are working with us on so many projects."

You may access Camp Coastal’s online reservation system at: Alternatively your group leader can call 228-586-1579, or email them at:

The PRC also reports that the Salvation Army is busy building them 100 new bunk beds to fill the bunkhouses and the old school Library. They hope to have many done this week and the kitchen is coming along well.


Tom Dalessandri, the erstwhile leader of this remarkable Pearlington project reports:

"We have just completed our latest mission to Pearlington. We had 90+ volunteers from three states and four organizations. We knocked out some serious work in just five days. We now have 14 homes in various stages of completion that we are working on. We recently left Pearlington folks with a lot of smiles on their faces from this last trip. It was one of the best yet."

While in Pearlington last week, Tom’s group worked with another C.O.D.R.A. member, McLean Baptist Church of VA. A newer member of C.O.D.R.A., Pete Traynham’s team from McLean partnered with Tom, in the best tradition of our Coalition.

One of the groups under this umbrella sends this to Pete and Tom:

"Please accept a heartfelt thanks for all you did in the course of about 6 hours to help guide our team to a very successful and productive week in Pearlington. Without your guidance and patience, we would have been lost.

Our team worked on 4 houses throughout the week: Gin Street/John; 11th and White/Joe Keyes; Cyde Hailles house and deck; 9th/White/Shirley. We did flooring/tile, plumbing, electrical, insulation/drywall and built a deck so that Clyde can get into his house now. By the way, Frank Cloud (who was on the job each day at Clyde Hailles’ house) was wonderful to work with. Our hope is to plug him into UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) to get him on the payroll somehow, as he is working for free and living off his savings.

At any rate, we are now in the 'returning home' mode and getting ready to present our experience to our home church, Marcellus United Methodist Church. The community will also be invited in hopes to recruit other local churches and folks who may be interested in coming again in the near future. That's our hope. Our team, especially our teens, were deeply affected by what they saw and experienced. This has changed us all, especially the teens.

Again, thanks for your time, your efforts, your caring and your hard work in making a difference! We will definitely be more prepared next time - thanks to you guys! Keep in touch and God bless!"

Tom is also looking forward to partnering soon with another C.O.D.R.A. member, Brittany Overbeck of Felton Presbyterian Church.

A personal note about Frank Cloud. I first met Frank in the early days, when he and Jimi Smith were providing help to their fellow volunteers at every opportunity. They both have been an enormously helpful asset and we salute them both!

And finally, a heads-up from teacher Jeanne Brooks, concerning an article, the subject of which has been personally alarming me since the very early days of this storm: "Depression and anxiety quadruple on the Coast" available at:

That’s it for now. Keep on keeping on, and we will get this job done! You all are so crucial to this recovery and each night I pray for your safety and well-being in Pearlington and in your homes. May the resources be provided for us to finish what we started and to ensure that all God’s children have a roof over heads this year.

"Canada Jon" White