1st Year Member Reflection by Chelsea Evans When we arrived at the house I felt overwhelmed by the task in front of my team. Resting on the roof, right over the front door, was a huge tree that had fallen during a storm over six months ago. I was at this residence because I had signed up for a special, day-long service project to help a homeowner who had been affected by a tornado the past spring and had still not been able to get help removing the gigantic tree on the roof. The tree punctured holes in the roof led to leaking which in turn had caused water damage on the main floor and in the basement. Problems were compounding quickly and this tree needed to be taken care of before any further damage accrued.
While this tree issue was beyond my skill level, our three team leaders were not daunted by the enormity of the task. They quickly set to work cutting off the branches piece by piece, followed by the pieces of trunk they could reach while perched on the roof. While they plugged away, I helped remove tree debris from the backyard and moldy drywall from the basement. I felt happy as I served alongside my teammates, and all thoughts of wanting to sleep in on a Saturday had vanished from my mind. After a few hours we received word that it was time to remove the standing trunk from the house. The team leaders had trimmed down the tree as much as they could and only the trunk remained. Only that huge trunk connected to a gigantic root wad…
We all helped with the final preparations which involved attaching the trunk to the truck we planned to pull it off with, removing debris from the work site, and controlling traffic. The first few pulls with the truck were unsuccessful, but this didn’t stop our crew. A new plan was devised and one of our leaders put an impressive face-cut and back-cut into the tree to help it fall into place when tugged by the truck. One more attempt with the truck and the tree fell to the ground, exactly as planned! Celebration ensued over this huge accomplishment. We were then able to tarp the roof and prevent any further damage to the home. The homeowner could now finally really begin the recovery process. I went home with a great sense of accomplishment, and an immense amount of respect from my leaders who had tackled this challenge safely, intelligently, and bravely. Those three women inspired me that day to stretch farther, reach deeper, and to face challenges with bravery and confidence so that someday, I too can help someone with a problem that today may seem insolvable, but tomorrow may prove possible.