Chicago church teams build home for flood victims

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By Mark Robinson

(Photo by Mark Robinson) Kyle Doorn, on the ground to the right, Peter Voss, on the ground to the left, Dave Kamp, in black on the roof, and Kurt Marcus, near him, work on Tuesday afternoon.

Churches in Chicago, IL, have taken an interest in residents who were flooded in June, and are sending teams of workers to build houses.

One team, from Orland Park Christian Reformed Church, came last week and poured footers and laid block for a house in Caldwell, located next to the thrift store at the corner of Rt. 63 and 60. This week, another team came and framed the deck, walls and roof of the structure. Adding shingles, windows and doors, they will leave Saturday to go back to Chicago. Then another team will come to spend a week doing wiring and plumbing.

The men all attend Orland Park Christian Reformed Church, a congregation of about 300 families. Working with a couple of other churches in Chicago, they put together five teams that come to a location for five consecutive weeks, to build a house from start to finish. They have done about a dozen homes in the last 15 years.

“We are blessed,” says Dave Kamp, one of six workers who were here this week. “We have a congregation that has a lot of construction talent. It’s fun to come down and use your abilities. Hopefully in the next three days we can shingle it, put the siding on, do windows, and go home.” Kamp continued, “On this crew, one is a physical therapist, a couple are general contractors, one works for a concrete company. I’m the only one who works carpentry full-time for a living, but everybody has done it in the past and worked in the field, so they pretty much have an idea of what they are doing. With very little guidance they can rock and roll.”

The men range in age from mid-20s to mid-50s. They workers drove to West Virginia Sunday, Jan. 29, and will return the following Saturday, Feb. 4. They stay nights at the Catholic church in White Sulphur Springs. The materials are paid for locally. These men provide the labor. The work is done under the auspices of the group Neighbors Loving Neighbors.