St. Paul, Virginia, October 2nd-5th
Four current students and one of the abRC student leaders ventured to St. Paul, Virginia last weekend to work with Grace House on the Mountain. Roanoke visits Grace House around three times each year. This trip was over a weekend, although the participants wished it had lasted longer. Grace House is an organization that coordinates volunteer groups to do home repair projects for individuals in need in the St. Paul, Coeburn, and Dante area of Southwest Virginia. Grace House at times also assists families with utility or water bills if an emergency.
The Roanoke group was tasked with talking down a temporary metal ramp and building a desk for the side door of a house. The gentleman, Pharrell, who lives in the home recently had life threatening health issues so the ramp was put in place so he could get into the house. However, he is doing much better so the ramp is going to be reused for another home and the group built a permanent 8x8 deck. The work project was planned for two days but the first day was raining so the group was creative and visited a local museum in the neighboring town Dante. Dante used to be a bustling coal-mining town but the coal factory left around 15 years ago. With the loss of the factory, the town also lost population since there was little work so the town currently looks like a ghost town. This has been a trend among many of the smaller towns in the area.
With a lot of hard work, determination, and laughter, the group was able to remove the ramp and build the deck all in the second day! Pharrell and his wife were very grateful to the group for the new deck. The group left the work project with new skills and a better understanding of real life problems racing many individuals living in rural Southwest Virginia.