Covenant United Methodist Church

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ASP 2014 Reflection - Kathy Atkinson

July 13, 2014

This year, the ASP team traveled to Watauga County North Carolina. Although our center was in Watauga, our family's home was actually in Tennessee, about 20 minutes from the center.

Our work team was called the Geoducks, (pronounced Gooeyducks) and I had the privilege of working with Pete, Laura, Claire and Kristen. To quote Pete, our crew was "Quacktastic".

Our family consisted of Beverly, the homeowner, her son Gary (who had Downs Syndrome), her daughters Jennifer & Beth, Virgil (Beth's husband) and Jennifer's 3 daughters - Olivia (13), Helen (10) and Eden (3). Eden became an honorary member our work crew on the 1st day and helped us out all week. We also had a group of Basset Hounds there everyday - Fred, Willie, Talula. & Gracie. It was indeed a full house!!

The family home sustained some damage from the creek overflowing a few times and also had a bad case of carpenter ants. Laura was our master electrician and buzzed around fixing the electric outlets inside and also helped us outside. We had to replace a supporting beam and then start the underpinning as well as removing, replacing and painting a row of shingles. I'm pretty sure both Pete and I were holding our breath when we removed the old beam and replaced it with the new one we'd made! Claire quickly became our circular saw queen, and both she and Kristen mastered the metal grinder and cut all the rebar we needed for the underpinning. Laura taught Claire and Kristen how to install switches and sockets, and also how to patch the walls. And Pete was just plain fantastic! Even when he was up on the ladder, he always know when wasps & hornets were flying around & sent me to the van (as I am very allergic to them). He patiently stopped whatever he was doing when we needed help or advice. And my favorite memory was eh day Claire stood looking at me horrified - a big carpenter bee was sitting on my leg - she quickly said "I don't think they sting" and then we called "Pete!!!" He promptly snatched the bee off my leg, and held it in his hand until he found an empty container to put it in so it couldn't get back out! Then Claire dropped a cement block on another one (all the while saying "sorry sorry sorry" to the bee!

On Friday, Pete & I treated our family and work crew to Mike's Barbeque for lunch. We had a wonderful time eating & talking with the family. Later, as we were packing up to leave, Beverly pulled me aside to thank us for all we had done. She told me she had prayed for help fixing the home, and then we came to help. She also told me what a blessing we had been to her. To me, that's what ASP is about - being blessed. And I've been blessed for many years by the families I've served.

On Saturday night, in my last prayer partner bag, was a gift of a giving bowl. In the center of the bowl was the work Hope. I'd like to pass this gift of hope on - hope for the families of Appalachia that they continue to get the help they need, and hope for the youth and adults of this church - that they can continue to make this journey for years to come.

As I hang up my work boots for the final time, I just want to say how grateful I am for having been a part of this wonderful group for so many years, and how proud I am of all of the members of this team for their hard work and selfless hearts.

~ Kathy Atkinson

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