Members of Christian Churches in Ames and Urbandale are in Port Arthur, Texas helping with the hurricane recovery. Sue Stookey is a member of Covenant Christian Church in Urbandale. She says they’ll be doing mostly roof repair and drywall removal and replacement. Stookey says she’ll be doing scheduling work for a church while she’s there.
This is Stookey’s third trip to Port Arthur and she says the progress made in the recovery is slow and disappointing. Stookey says when they were there in November around half of the businesses were not open and a recent survey by a local business organization found 40-percent of the businesses will not return.
Stookey says they’re so far finding enough building materials to do the work.
She says they take some of their tools and equipment along, and some of the teams have taken supplies along. Stookey says part of the denomination has donated “a lot of money” to people directly and for supplies and materials.
Stookey says the slow pace of the rebuilding efforts have brought a lot of stress on the people of Port Arthur. Stookey says, “They’re struggling. They’re trying to learn to be patient, but so many people are still hassling with their insurances companies. And even if the insurance companies approve it and the people get the money, they can’t find workers. So, it’s really a long, long process down the road.” Even with the slow pace of the work,
Stookey says she knew she wanted to return as soon as she got back from the first trip. She says, “It’s very fulfilling, we feel we get more out of it then the people down there, But it’s, it’s a mutal spiritual kind of relationship, and it’s very hard to describe if you’ve never done it. I had never given up a whole week of my time for somebody else. So, it’s very rewarding.” Stookey’s husband Ron is also on the trip.
The other members of the team are from the Ames Christian Church. Stookey says anyone interested in volunteering in the Gulf Coast area can contact the Christian Church on their website at www.homelandministries.org.