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Church group provides sheds for area fire victims
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | | 1
Photo by Michelle Stecker
Volunteers with the Presbyterian Church in America’s disaster response program “Sheds of Hope” build a storage shed on a lot where Ricardo Rojo’s home was burned to the ground during the wildfire in Spicewood last fall. Jack Freeman works inside the shed while above David Morris and Steve Ross, right, work on the roof.
By Michelle Stecker
Special to the LT View
Months after wildfires burned some Spicewood homes to ashes, victims are receiving something in addition to a place to sleep, clothes and food. They are getting a secure place for their salvaged belongings.
Spicewood neighborhood resident Sharon Turner lost her greenhouse and storage shed in the fires. Though her house did not burn, many of her neighbors lost their homes and she has opened her home to many of them.
“Everything is piled up on my front porch,” she said. “Now there’s a place to keep things out of the weather, to have a place for order and organization.”
The sheds will also be a place for tools and materials needed to rebuild the homes lost in the Labor Day 2011 fires, said Rick Lenz, MNA specialist for the south central region that includes Oklahoma and Texas.
Sheds of Hope, is an outreach program sponsored by Mission to North America Disaster Response and delivered by volunteers with the Presbyterian Church in America.
“Homeowners have lost just about everything so this is a place where they can put what they have been able to salvage [from the remains of their burned out homes],” said Lenz.
Each 8-foot-by-8-foot shed has a shingled roof, trim, a door that locks and has a foundation risen above the ground to ensure that the interior stays dry. Funding for the sheds and related volunteer support are provided through direct monetary donations and the largess of local organizations.
PCA member churches have raised money to fund 27 sheds at a cost of $750 each. Houston, New Braunfels and Austin churches are among the many that have raised funds for the “Sheds of Hope” program’s Spicewood effort, said Lenz.
“We’ve built 11 sheds so far, and we have materials to build a total of 27,” Lenz said. The shed materials are staged behind the Grace Outreach Family Church then construction materials for each shed are separately driven on a flatbed truck to the permanent site where construction is completed by team members belonging to PCA’s south central region and are primarily from the Fort Worth area.
The Highland Lakes Baptist camp provides lodging for the volunteers when they travel to Spicewood to construction the sheds.
“We just really try to be part of the community as we see the need and we can meet the need,” said Danny Dawdy, director of the camp. Last weekend, 10 people slept at the camp. Two families were able to park trailers where they lived until their homes could be rebuilt, and one family remains on campgrounds today.
“It’s a lovely shed, and we all very much appreciate everything,” Turner said as she came close to tears. “I just can’t get over the generosity of people.”
Sheds are provided to residents who have been affected by the wildfires. All inquiries should be directed to the Spicewood long-term recovery committee of the Grace Outreach Family Church at 20808 Highway 71 West, Spicewood, Texas 78669.
Construction will continue this weekend.
For more information, call 565-0800 or visit www.gofamilychurch.com.