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Appalachia 2017 – Days 7 & 8

July 1, 2017

Hard to believe that another Appalachia trip has come to a conclusion … as we are now heading along the roads of Virginia before we travel the length of I81 in Virginia – from exit 14 and exit 323 (and then some). Big thanks to our 29 students and 13 chaperones for another outstanding week. Let’s take a look back at our final hours in KY:

After a final trip for some to Fish Pond Lake, the crews returned to their five work sites to continue their projects and attempted to put the finishing touches on their assignments. Kenny’s crew returned to their house in Whitesburg and completed painting the exterior of the house. They also made good progress inside with trim work around the windows they installed earlier in the week. 

The second crew returned to the work site and finished painting the exterior of the house. This was a rental property where the previous tenants didn’t leave the house in the best of conditions. Having already painted the interior and scraping a horrible green paint off the foundation of the house, this crew got a significant amount of work completed this week.

The third crew, working with Johnny, made great progress on their deck construction. I drove out to see their progress yesterday and it’s safe to say they were out in the boonies. I hadn’t ever traveled out to the area where they were working. Greeted by three very friendly dogs (including an adorable puppy), I found the crew working hard in Friday’s heat and humidity. They definitely got some great work done this week for the 80 year old homeowner.

The fourth crew, working with Harrison, made solid progress towards completing their deck and ramp construction for a handicap resident. By the time they left on Friday, the majority of the deck and ramp was in place and the next crew will put the finishing touches on the project. The pictures below are from Thursday:

The fifth and final group, working with Fuzz, worked on another rental property in Millstone on Thursday and Friday. Besides demo-ing a shed in the back yard (that they literally pushed over) and loading the wood into the truck to be taken to the dump, a crew also worked installing insulation and water vapor protection in a crawl space under the house. Both projects were tough ones but great progress was again made.

The Friday evening dinner is always a refrigerator review – but with lots of variety, the menu did not disappoint. Everyone had clean-up tasks following dinner (vans, bunks, etc.). Fr. Cip celebrated mass and then our final group reflection was held – where everyone shared some final thoughts on their Appalachia experience. Using the Fun. song “We are Young”, everyone was encouraged to “set the world on fire”. 

Saturday morning brought a 6am wake up, a quick breakfast and the final packing of the vans. As we do each year, we took our group picture outside the volunteer quarters. We were even running ahead of schedule and got on the road twenty minutes early. We have six hours of driving ahead of us today before we reach our hotel in Chambersburg, PA. We will celebrate mass together this evening, the seniors will do a final group reflection, and then we will head to dinner. We plan to hit the road in the morning around 7am and should be back to ND (traffic permitting) around noon.

A huge thanks again to a great group of kids and a real special group of chaperones for making the 26th annual ND trip to Appalachia a great success. Already looking forward to 2018 … (after some rest this summer first). 

Until next year…


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