Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

July 17, 2013

Progress Reached

BY BILL WOLCOTT bill.wolcott@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Two teams of Reach Workcamp volunteers are tackling CARES Transition House on Genesee Street this week. The teens come from a handful of different states and several different Christian denominations.

They are part of more than 1,000 volunteers — mostly high school students — who will work on 74 homes in two sessions. The first crew of 560 arrived last Sunday at Newfane High School and is working on 44 homes. Crew two, 475 campers, arrives next Sunday to work at 30 sites.

Painting the Kahler House, which is next door to Lockport CARES, began on Monday and the work on the aging two-story home was well underway on Tuesday. The painting is expected to be complete on Thursday. Outside fencing and landscaping will resume on the property that is being prepared for transitional housing.

”We’ve been killing it out here, so it’s nice,” said Blake Ratcliff of St. David’s Parish in Virginia. This is his fourth year as a camper.

”I love the people and I love the feeling of accomplishment,” the 18-year-old said. “I feel when I leave, I’m a changed person. It brings me that much closer to God.”

The double team of painters worked the shady side of the house in order to deal with the mid-85 degree temperatures. Their shifts start at 7:30 a.m. so they were able to get around the building.

The teams primed the house on Monday and put the first coat on Tuesday.

Victoria Rooney and Shaelynn Holmgren of Connecticut shared duties with Anna O’Connor of Michigan on the roof of the porch to finish the front of the house. Josh Wolfe, 14, of York, Pa. spent most of his day on a ladder.

“It’s a big community. We all come together,” said Connor Moon, 16, of Fairport United Methodist, near Rochester.

“I do it because I really like helping other people and you also pick up really good skills,” said Liz Bodenman, a second-year camper from Bloomsberg, Pa. Liz, who hopes to have a career in mission work, learned drywall and roofing last year.

“They’ve been excellent,” said Vince Wik, the building and grounds coordinator of Lockport CARES. “We’re so appreciative. There’s a lot of need, a lot of work in community.” 

Wik, who built his own house, is in charge of two sites.

Reach Workcamps of Colorado organizes Christ-centered weeklong mission trips and different denominations work harmoniously together.

“As long as they recognize United Methodist is best, we don’t have a problem,” joked Tony O’Dell of Hurricane, West Va.