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Monday, May 5, 2008

Church helps with Katrina reconstruction

By Elaine Clauson/Contributor

Shortly after attending Easter services at Anchor Covenant Church at the Lake Geneva YMCA, a group of volunteers pulled out of the parking lot bound for Phoenix, La.

Ned Sutherland/Photo
Volunteers from Anchor Covenant Church in Lake Geneva raise a wall on a new home in Phoenix, La. The community is still rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina more than two years ago.
When they arrived, they spent the next week helping to rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina two-and-a half years ago.

The team worked under leadership established by Covenant World Relief, a world service organization of the Evangelical Covenant Church of America.

Phoenix, located on a peninsula between two levees 20 miles south of New Orleans, can be reached by car ferry across the Mississippi River delta.

The team divided into two work groups where they constructed a new home to replace one that was totally destroyed in the flood.

They also rebuilt a house that was almost entirely destroyed, as well as sided a nearly completed house and helped an elderly woman move into her new home.

Trudy Krinner and Kathy DeVries, both of Lake Geneva, agreed that everything went smoothly.

"And now I can put drywalling on my resume," Krinner added, crediting Ned Sutherland of Lake Geneva for teaching her how to put up Sheetrock.

Sherri Gorecki of Elkhorn marveled, "It was neat how God found our gifts and used them."

Team leader Rick Hammer of North Prairie said he appreciated the harmony that characterized the week and the spiritual growth he saw in the team. He gave credit in part to pre-trip preparation that began to build team spirit.

All on the team were awed by Phoenix residents' accounts of the magnitude of the hurricane's destruction and the suffering that people have endured since September 2005.

And they admired their tenacity in looking to the future. Unlike many areas in New Orleans, people in Phoenix own their homes. Most have lived in the town all their lives and are determined to preserve it.

Several team members observed that the challenge for them and Anchor Covenant now is to "keep the spirit." They are committed to finding ways to serve locally.

And some are already talking about returning to Phoenix. "This fall," said Alan Gorecki of Elkhorn.

Other members of the Phoenix team were Dale Holte of Elkhorn, Mike Corner of Erie, Pa., and Lake Geneva residents Chuck Cain, Dave Devries and Ryan Eikenbary-Barber.

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