At the end of our snow delay, we were given the go-ahead that roads were cleared and that we could head out and start helping to clear a site. We all met up at the dining hall to eat lunch, before heading out at 12 noon. Because it was the first day for us, and rescue operations and FEMA were still getting organized all the teams would be working together (Once we get to CAP, they break up the School teams and “redistribute” us so that we work with students & advisors from other schools, each team is given a color). We all loaded up according to teams and then caravanned out of camp.
Unfortunately, there are rules about going on to personal properties to do work, for liability reasons, and several consent forms had to be signed by the homeowner/resident and while there were many properties that needed our help, many of the homeowners/residents weren’t home to sign them. But the City of Salyersville waived these rules, to help begin the process of cleaning up and rebuilding that much faster. But first, we had to get a site that would support a crew of about 60 people. Then we had to get the permission of FEMA to get to the site. We ended up, sitting in the parking lot of a local Mexican Restaurant for a little bit, while the CAP employees got us the necessary credentials.
The site that we worked at on Monday, was once St. Luke’s Catholic Church (I’ll include a “before” picture), in Salyersville. Not only was the Church completely destroyed, the rectory was nothing more than a foundation, an outreach ministry building, the storage building, a grotto and a picnic shelter were also destroyed. Trees were snapped like matchsticks, and other nearby houses were completely obliterated. It was very surreal picking up the the pieces of the Church. Amid the rubble of wood, glass and stone, we would find statues that were minimally damaged or not damaged at all.
One group, whose crew leaders were chainsaw certified (many of the long term CAP volunteers are chainsaw certified, the student volunteers did A LOT of moving of already cut wood) were called and asked to work with the county on clearing some trees that were down on roadway. We worked for about 3 ½ or 4 hours in the cold and snow. But all were troopers. We even had a local realtor and her associate who kept bring us chili, peanut butter sandwiches, and coffee to keep warm.