|Photo by Jerrine Corallo|
|Tim Sheaffer, who has served as a project leader at the Brethren Disaster Ministries home rebuilding project site in Schoharie, N.Y.|
As we approach the two year anniversary of Hurricane Irene, it is hard to believe that there are still those who have yet to move back into their homes. Though many homeowners still have their work cut out for them, organizations like Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) are helping in a big way to keep the recovery process moving forward.
Since this past April, Brethren Disaster Ministries has been sending volunteer groups to Schoharie County to help rebuild homes. Volunteers of all ages from across the country are donating their time and working hard in the summer heat.
Brethren Disaster Ministries recruits and coordinates new groups of up to 15 volunteers each week. Long-term project leader Tim Sheaffer, a self-employed contractor from Pennsylvania, has been managing the local teams and the progress since their arrival in the spring. Sheaffer has been with the program for about nine years and originally started as a volunteer. He says that working with the Brethren has had a huge effect on his life.
“Every week it feels like you just can’t get enough done, which makes you want to keep going back and work even harder. The homeowners we have worked with in Schoharie have been so warm, gracious, and thankful that it is a huge pleasure to become a part of the community,” Sheaffer states.
Groups from Brethren Disaster Ministries are scheduled to volunteer with SALT through September. In addition, Schaefer said that based on what he has seen over the past few months, the volunteer groups will be in Schoharie through the fall and possibly into the winter months.
Adam Braun, a young volunteer from Illinois who has been working alongside Sheaffer this week, says that “it really opens your eyes to go out and volunteer in a community like this. Even though money and resources aren’t in abundance, that just makes you want to come back again and again until things are back in shape.”
Sheaffer will be ending his term in our region next Friday and SALT would like to recognize all that has been accomplished under his leadership locally. He has helped supervise over 500 volunteers who have worked on over 20 homes in the region.
“Tim is one of those unique people, who always has a smile on his face, emanating a sense of calm and assurance that is vital for disaster recovery work,” executive director Sarah Goodrich shares. “No task was ever to big or to small for he and his team to tackle. His leadership will be greatly missed, but we look forward to meeting the new project leader and continuing to work with the Brethren volunteers.”
Having groups like Brethren Disaster Ministries in Schoharie is absolutely vital for recovery, as they guarantee volunteers will continue to fill the need for skilled labor that becomes harder to fill as time passes. The time they donate is greatly appreciated in the community, and we hope that they will keep coming back to aid us in recovery for as long as they can!
— Written by Sarah Roberts for SALT, Schoharie Area Long-Term Inc., a local disaster recovery organization dedicated to rebuilding Schoharie, N.Y., after Hurricane Irene. Find out more about SALT at www.saltrecovery.org .