“You become part of something larger than yourself and something like putting down a floor or putting up a wall becomes more than construction; it becomes something to truly be proud of.” Charles Rehberger, ASB Day 4
It was a surreal experience, entering the house my group worked on for the first time. The outside looked just fine, but as for the interior, the floor was full of holes and the walls had over a foot removed from them at the bottom, leaving uneven boards and old nails that were bent and rusted hopelessly out of shape. It left me with a worrying thought; if you couldn’t tell that this house had been through the ringer by looking at it from outside, and it looked just the same as the rest of the houses on the street, one could only imagine. It was the first time I’d felt the magnitude of the storm on such a grand scale, and I can say that grasping the scope of this daunting task made the team and I more determined to fix the damage.
By the time we had finished our share of the work on the house, three days later, it had wooden floors ready for the next step in the process, the majority of the walls had been fixed with drywall, the rest of them were prepped to be fitted, and the house had transformed. It was no longer a place devastated by Sandy, but rather a place putting up a bold stance of defiance to the storm that had tried to overtake it. With the addition of all our progress, to the surprise of all of us volunteers, the house had taken a grand leap in the direction of recovery.
To me, ASB was a more than worthwhile experience. The skills I learned for construction are invaluable, as is the time working with a great team, and the progress made on the house. Something in particular that meant the world to me was the camaraderie and friendship made between the members of the team and I. Though I’m not the most expressive person in the world and maybe didn’t acknowledge it as much as I should have, the group became like another family to me. Working with a group of diligent workers and good friends makes you put your work into perspective. You become part of something larger than yourself and something like putting down a floor or putting up a wall becomes more than construction; it becomes something to truly be proud of.