Friday, March 09, 2007

Thank You Doesn’t Seem Enough

The following is a thank you note that we received from the Freed family in Lady Lake, Florida. While we helped with tornado recovery the Freed's allowed us to camp in their backyard and provided us with a home away from home. We presented them with a Persevere sign when we departed as a token of our appreciation.

I don't know if the young men and women who came to Lady Lake FL and camped in my back yard in 30 degree weather at night and worked all day doing excruciating heavy work, I don’t know if they know how they impacted the lives of my neighbors and my family. Your strength of character, compassion, impeccable work ethics, the perfect guests, and your desire to simply help people unable to help themselves, well it is overwhelming that in the young people that you are you have already learned the most valuable gift you can give another human being and that is the gift of your time. The fact that you have a talent for what you do is a plus in my book. And each of you presented yourself as a professional. I remember my husband’s words oh so clearly when you parked in front of our house and began unloading and strapping on your gear, he said "those kids know exactly what they are doing". He was never more right about anything. One of the elderly ladies from sunshine park asked about you, she wanted to know if I had heard from those nice young kids who helped clear the park, you know the group with the boy who wore the earphones when he used his chainsaw :-), she thought he must have been listening to music while he worked:-)because they stayed out there all day and just kept going from tree to tree. And she wondered why they smiled so much after each tree. She said now she knows, it was satisfaction of one step at a time. keep moving forward no matter what obstacles get in your way. She now has a FEMA trailer and said she can handle anything after
Feb 2nd, she can PERSEVERE. I just need all of you to know how much you touched me.

I now have a frame for my sign and it hangs in the den, many people have asked what it stands for, usually Kevin Jr. answers with "that’s a small group of people who when joined together with the same goal can accomplish anything". I think my son is pretty smart, because at 13, he has learned from you something that a lot of people never learn their entire life.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! All our love, respect, admiration and prayers. The Freed Family, Kevin, Kathy, Nick, Justin & KW

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Alabama Tornado Response - BonaRespond's Blog

The following is an excerpt from the BonaResponds blog found at

Enterprise Alabama—By Jim

Today we switched parts of town. We moved from the area immediately adjacent to the Enterprise High to the Baptist Hills region to the West of town. On three different occasions over the past two days I have had people come up to me and suggest we go to this area as it is the poorer section of town and was not only very hard hit but largely forgotten. So today we did. And “they” were right. Wow, it was bad.

The houses here were all smaller but many had been completely destroyed with roofs blown off, windows broken, and trees and wires down everywhere you looked. It was bad. Really bad.

Working with Persevere Volunteers we came to the job site and I almost laughed. There was no way we could clear it. There were at least 15-20 trees down in the now shared (the fences had been smashed by falling trees). And these were not small ornamentals! They were HUGE! Indeed one was at least 10 feet in diameter and was estimated to have gone through the Civil War. But even more than the HUGE tree, was the sheer magnitude of the work. There was just so much to do! It was surely impossible.

But with the help of a tractor, some local volunteers, and a much needed tractor, BonaResponds and Persevere succeeded in moving most of the downed trees and brush around the yards. The yards still need a part of another day, but the improvement was simply remarkable.

Again the crew was phenomenal: they did not even stop for lunch and never once complained. To a person they worked incredibly hard. How hard, in a futile effort to keep up, I even worked! In fact, it was probably the most physically demanding day of tree removal I have ever done!

At the end of the work day, we physically left Enterprise. To a person we wish we could stay and do more, but it is time to go to Mississippi. So we drove to Pass Christian where we separated into our assigned teams. For the time we spent in Alabama, I have only great things got say, I expect hard work for BonaResponders and this group may have raised the bar.


oh and here are more pictures!