The Central Virginian

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Gifts that continue to give back

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

Lori Clark, Charlie McKinney, Corine Anderson, Chris Chiles and Sam Williams admire the construction progress at Anderson’s new home.

Having trouble finding the perfect Christmas gift for someone who seems to have everything? Consider jointly volunteering for a service project this year.

Donating time together while serving others can be a rewarding experience for the gift giver, receiver and a person in need.

Chris Chiles, founder of Resurrection Disaster Relief in Montpelier, has such a gift-giving opportunity this year.

Since November 19, volunteers have been participating in Resurrect Louisa, a project to build eight new replacement houses and repair two others damaged by the 2011 earthquake in Louisa County.

After the earthquake, Howard Evergreen, executive director for the Fluvanna/Louisa Housing Foundation, approached members of the relief organization and said, “I’m trying to help some people in Louisa. What can you do?”

“We’re going to work until these people get their houses done,” vowed volunteer Charlie McKenney.

Resurrection Disaster Relief attracted 260 volunteers from nine states to help build and repair earthquake-damaged homes like the one belonging to Corine Anderson.

“Mr. Evergreen came out and said the damage was such that the house had to be replaced, but I’d have to be patient because many others were worse off,” Anderson recounted. “I told him that I have the patience of Job and I could wait.”

Her wait was worth it. As she stood in her new home last week, amazed at the pace of construction, she exclaimed, “It’s wonderful. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Anderson was particularly pleased with the tilt-in windows.

“Oh, I don’t have to go up on a ladder and clean them outside,” Anderson said.

Resurrect Louisa volunteers were housed at Mineral Baptist Church the first week and then moved to New Life Community Church. The relief organization, which provides most of the labor to the contractors in charge of the project, ensured that volunteers receive three meals a day.

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 6 edition of The Central Virginian.