Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This evening, C.O.D.R.A. welcomes a new member to its ranks of those helping in the rebuilding of Pearlington.

Spokesman Pete Traynham of McLean Baptist Church, VA, writes this:

"I serve as the lay organizer/coordinator for McLean Baptist's mission project to Pearlington. Our Senior Pastor is Dr. Michael Catlett, our Associate Pastors are Cameron Edgar and Trisha Miller Manarin. Our group name is "Dirty Faith" and we seek opportunities to get our Christian faith and hands dirty by participating in projects that require some physical labor on behalf of those in need. Pearlington continues to be a focus of our mission activities here in Northern Virginia. We look forward to our affiliation with C.O.D.R.A. and our upcoming trip in February 2007. And grace will lead me home."

Those of us who were working in Pearlington just after the storm remember the remarkable firefighters and police officers from Virginia and their outstanding contributions to the safety of Pearlington at that time. Clearly, Virginia puts it on the line for others!

Welcome Pete and McLean Baptist Church. Check out their site at:

Next up is my friend and long-standing C.O.D.R.A. Individual Member Tom Eickhoff of Bethlehem Baptist Church in MN. Tom has made three trips to Pearlington, two in the very early days, and continues to stay impassioned and committed to helping Pearlington any way he can. He is a skilled writer and I invite you to check his writings out at:

Tom thinks outside the box for sure. I relate to him on this level and I’m sure it has gotten him into quite as much "trouble" as it has me, over the years. Tom was there for me in September 2005 when I was stressed and burned. I wrote of him and he has written of me. He and his team built the very first shelves in the Pearl*Mart and gave us all hope in the dedication of strangers and the willingness to show the world that order and dignity could indeed be restored to chaos.

Tom has a great idea, but first I would like to share a quote he passed along to me from a story C.O.D.R.A. member Wendy Frost wrote about Rev. Bush Burton:

"That house, was just a house, it wasn’t home. I’ve been building me a new home, been working on it most of my life. One stick at a time, one good deed at a time, ooohh is it going to be fine. It will be a glorious place with rooms for all my family, but it ain’t ready yet. I’m not done. The Lord will tell me when my home is done."

Tom’s idea is this:

"I would like to put together a writing of Rev. Burton that puts more of his life together. I don’t know what the final results will be but I need some help in putting it together. If everyone who has written of him could send a copy of such writing to me at this address that would be of great help:

Also, for those who interacted with him but have not written it down, if you would write it down or just some notes, that would be good. It can be sketchy. It doesn’t have to be written well, just written. I can rewrite it if I have the general information. If you have photos, please send them as well; I will make sure you are credited.

Has everyone seen the video of him? I smile every time I see the car drive through – classic! The video link is in what I wrote in "In honor, with thanks". Here it is also, remarkable footage, once again from Wendy Frost:

Great songs from a man who has lost everything, yet has not...."

Tom's own story of Rev. Burton - "One Stick at a Time" - can be found through the link below:

Rev. Burton reminds us to LIVE our lives. Here and now, despite what comes. Let’s help Tom immortalize his spirit in words, pictures, song and video.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Update from Pearlington

Great news from Pearlington!

Laurie Spaschak, Volunteer Manager of the Pearlington Recovery Center, has been retained by the Salvation Army as their new Lead Case Manager for Pearlington and the western portion of Hancock County. This changes little for Laurie in terms of her work with the Pearlington Recovery Center; she continues to work from the same office, but now will be in a position to assist the people of Pearlington with grants from Salvation Army in a much more direct way.

"The Salvation Army supporting our efforts to improve the camp, and we hope to begin relocating and upgrading the kitchen facility very soon. I am happy to be part of their team and very glad that I am able to continue here with the PRC as well."

Congratulations, Laurie!

As a result of a much greater level of responsibility by Laurie for Case Management, the PRC has recruited Bob Putnam to take over the management of Volunteer scheduling and housing. We have done a great job in recruiting volunteers, after the crisis in the fall. So much so that they require, if you are reserving space at the Pearlington Recovery Center this year, that you please book in advance as much as possible. The PRC is now FULL for March and some weeks in other months.

Please contact Bob Putnam for reservations to the Pearlington Recovery Center at the NEW email for registration.

Full information and a registration form may be downloaded at the PRC blog, located at:

Let's be careful we don't let up on the need for volunteers, now!

We heard that the Southern Baptist Church is going to house volunteers again this summer, and Camp Coastal may have space as well, but if you have a group planning to come April - July, please let us know as soon as you can. There are, of course, some other options for volunteer housing in Pearlington. Please consult our Volunteer Blog at:

Additionally, the Pearl*Mart will now change its position in this recovery. A long while in the works, a decision has been made by local directors Larry Randall and Herb Ritchie to end food distribution there on March 1st.

It will now be a bare bones pantry only available in emergency and/or urgent needs situations, through case workers. Pearl*Mart will continue to be open for work requests, caseworker appointments, volunteer coordination etc.

The PRC now has a group coming twice a month starting the 26th of Feb to assist folks with medicaid and disability issues. More details later....

"We will revise our needs list accordingly - with the main focus on electrical/plumbing/painting and work related supplies. Clothing will be available till it is gone and we will not be accepting more clothing donations, except for infants and children. We will try to continue to assist those families with children’s needs.

We are looking for a local resident to assist in changing the distribution over to a food pantry, and manage it in the future This could be a paying position (supported by the SA not the PRC) but requires a commitment of time and energy."

That’s it for today, folks, but there is more to come. Thanks for your patience as I stepped out of the loop for a bit, to nurture my family and, oh yeah, myself!

"Canada Jon"

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Waste Not....

Each and every year, Americans alone discard
- throw out - $38 billion of food!

That’s almost $10 a week for an average family of four.

So....this week....DON’T!

Be better stewards of your resources and instead....

Send $10. to one of the C.O.D.R.A. Member Agencies
working so hard to rebuild Pearlington.
In fact, if each American family did so this week,
there would be $750,000,000 more in the coffers
and we could rebuild the entire coast!

We’ll even give you a charitable
donation receipt for the IRS.

Whatcha waiting for?

Contact me for the list.
We look forward to working this miracle
with your assistance, America.

After all, being the "home of the brave"
might just require a HOME.