Jul 04

Nothing is more important than empathy…

Nothing is more important than empathy for another human being’s suffering. Nothing – not career, not wealth, not intelligence, certainly not status. We have to feel for one another if we’re going to survive with dignity.   Audrey Hepburn

Today was another hot day, with temperatures in the 90’s and the heat index close to 100 degrees. Despise the heat, volunteers preserved at their sites. The ramp site made great progress as the first part of the ramp and the landing is done. Just the long straight away and the handrails left!

Volunteers also returned to the site in Glen Fork. Besides, the painting and drywalling that was done in the kitchen, the volunteers spent a lot of time with the family. Two of our younger volunteers did the important job of playing and reading with the the two year old that lives in the house. This site is a perfect example of who we are as PVs. We will get the work done, but it is also important to get to know the families we work with and share an experience with them.

A third group of volunteers spent their morning at Energy Express in Mullens and in the afternoon spent time visiting with our friend, know to many as Foxy Lady, in Wyco. Again, an important part of the PVs, building upon relationships established in previous years.

Tonight in PV-land it was Taco night, Taco Tuesday to be exact. All the taco fixings made for a delicious meal. For dessert we were treated with banana, vanilla wafer pudding. A West Virginia special! (At least that is the only place I have ever had it.)

For reflection, we were asked to reflect on a time when our faith was tested and then restored.

Visiting our friend in Wyco

Morning ramp planning

Painting fun

A very responsible volunteer

Reading day!

Ramp group shot

Day 2 ramp progress

Jul 03

Love the moment….

“Love the moment and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”  Corita Kent

This past weekend we were sad to say goodbye to most of the group, but were happy to welcome newly arriving volunteers on Sunday. After sharing a meal together to start off the week, we gathered for Commissioning and to talk about the work of the upcoming week.

We had two crews out in the county today on home repair projects. The first crew continued to work on the site that we started in Glen Fork on Friday. Today they were able to sand the areas that were mudded and taped and they were able to start to put the first coat of paint in the kitchen. They were also able to patch a piece of drywall around the circuit breaker box. And probably most importantly, they were about to hold a 6 week old baby : )

The second crew started a ramp project in Rock View, just past the St. Vincent dePaul warehouse. The first day of a ramp project is always a lot of figuring and measuring. They made great progress today and were able to build the first platform and map out the rest of the ramp.

We were treated to a pasta feast for dinner. The sausage and fresh bread were brought especially for dinner by the family that prepared it all the way from the Bronx. It was all delicious and to top off the meal we were treated to homemade ice cream cake.

Reflection tonight centered on how or where we see God, especially here in West Virginia. It was wonderful to hear everyone thoughts and reflections.

Jun 30

Be a Part of It…Sponsor a Volunteer During Their Service

We are in full PV West Virginia Summer Program mode. Volunteers are arriving from all over the country and are doing amazing things in the Wyoming County. (We hope you have been following along!)
A suggestion was made by a volunteer to put a campaign in place where people could “sponsor a volunteer” for a week or day. If an individual wants to sponsor a specific volunteer they can put that in the comments, if they just want to generally support the volunteers they can do that too. Imagine if we had a large community of people supporting the volunteers that are here. That would put a little extra oomph in their step as they head out for a day’s work.
You can find the campaign here:  https://chuffed.org/project/support-a-pv
We hope you consider sharing this campaign with your family and friends, and on social media if you are any platform. Every dollar helps keep this program going.
Jun 30

Someone is sitting in the shade today …

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”  Warren Buffet

Fridays are always a bittersweet day. Bodies are tired from a weeks worth of hard work, but volunteers are sad that the week is over. Today was no exception and it was a busy day. For the first time this summer we had volunteers go and help at Energy Express, the summer literacy program for kids in the area. They had a great time reading with the kids and helping the young adults running the program.

Another group finished up at the house in Itmann where we were working all week. We are happy to report that she now has light in her kitchen and bathroom and two new windows that are insulated, caulked and freshly painted. It was a great site all week and the volunteers already miss the home owner.

We also started a new site out in Glen Fork, our old stomping grounds. We are working for a young couple who have a 2 year son. Today the volunteers patched some places in the drywall in the kitchen. We will continue on Monday with sanding and painting. The entertainment at the site was provided by the many animals, including roosters and chickens that were running around the yard. After they left this site they went to go visit with our old friends in Lynco to check to see how they were doing. All the brothers are happy, well and enjoying life.

Tonight for dinner we had breakfast. As always during the first week, this is when the guys cook dinner. We had pancakes, eggs, bacon, pudding, coffee and oj. It was a yummy feast enjoyed by all.

Since tonight was the end of the week we had a closing prayer service wrapping up the weeks activities and bidding adieu to those that are leaving. We reflected on giving, both how we give and what we were given during the week that we will take home with us. While this week’s group was on the smaller site, we were able to get a lot done and had a wonderful time doing it. Thank you to all the volunteers who took time out of their busy lives to come and spend time with us in wild, wonderful West Virginia.

NJ boy meets WV!

It wasn’t all photo opts with the roosters, believe it or not some work was done at the site today

A new PV recruit…he even has the “letting a cat sit in his lap” thing down

Besides the repairs, volunteers took time to help decorate around the house

Week one group shot, selfie style



Jun 29

Every moment and every event…

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.”  Thomas Merton

Today was another good day in PV land. We returned to the site in Itmann to continue working on the windows and the electricity. A lot of great progress was made and we should be able to wrap it up tomorrow. Today the home owner was very generous in providing the volunteers with pizza for lunch. It was appreciated and delicious!

The new site for today was out in Glen Fork. Unfortunately there was a family emergency and the home owners were not there when we arrived to begin work. In true PV style, the volunteers were flexible and pivoted their work day to St. Vincent dePaul. They spent time organizing the warehouse and collecting supplies for next week’s sites. After sharing lunch at SVDP the volunteers made a garbage and ladder pick up run to the Itmann site.

Since we have collected quite a bit a leftovers, we had a potpourri night for dinner. We enjoyed every previous nights dinner, along with leftover pizza from lunch, just as much as the first time around. After dinner we made a group run to Dairy Queen, the PV tradition continues!!!

We closed out the evening with reflection. Tonight we reflected on our assumptions and judgements toward people and how we could try and be a little kinder and gentler to each other and where everyone is coming from. Always a good reminder.

WV morning mist

DQ run!!!

Wiring in the attic, not a clean job, nor cool job


Jun 28

Give Light and People Will Find the Way

“Give light and people will find the way.”   Ella Baker

This quote is very literal for one of our sites this week, as we are trying to give light back to a home owner whose electricity isn’t working in her house. We are inching closer to making her life a little easier and eliminating the extension cords that she is using right now to get light and electricity where she needs it. While the electrical work was being done, volunteers continued to work on replacing the two windows in the kitchen. They are now both in, just some finishing work needs to be completed. The final project done there today was removing the moss that had built up on her back deck making it very slippery and dangerous. A little bleach and a lot muscle later, she has a beautiful, clean deck.

The volunteers that did the moss removal in the afternoon spent their morning helping at the Itmann Food Bank. The Food Bank had received donations of toiletries that they wanted to get organized and put away before the next distribution day. While there they also helped with general organizing, sorting and folding clothes. Their help was very much appreciated.

After the productive day, we had a wonderful dinner that included chicken, cheesy, garlic, asparagus mashed potatoes and corn on the cob dinner. Oh, and as usual ice cream for dessert!

Reflection tonight was based around books. We were asked to think of a book we’ve read that had a theme that relates to our work in West Virginia. It was interesting to hear about the books everyone shared and how they connected them to our work. Needless to say each our reading lists got longer tonight.

Scrubbing the moss away

Sharing photos on the porch

Devising a plan of attack for the electrical work

Window in and insulated, next up… trim

Itmann Food Bank organizing

Jun 27

Back the In Saddle Again

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

                                                                              Francis of Assisi

Today’s home repair site was a bit like visiting an old friend. We returned to a house in Itmann that we worked on twelve years ago. It was a fun homecoming for both the home owner and the volunteers, as many of them had worked on the house many years ago.  The home owner was doing well and the house looked great, including a bunch of cats and kittens who greeted us on the deck when we arrived. The work on the agenda for the day included replacing a window in the kitchen. The amazing thing about the new window… that fit perfectly on the first try. For anyone that has ever tried to replace a window, you know it is very rare for a new window to fit in an old hole without any adjustments needed. It was fantastic! In the backyard, we repaired a railing on the steps on the porch and cleared out weeds that were growing on the hillside behind the house that were encroaching on the house. Inside the house, volunteers were able to fix a leaky toilet that will in turn help save on water costs. The other big project for the house it to figure out some electrical issues causing some outlets and switches not too work in part of the house. Today was process of elimination and creating a plan of attack to try and get some of the electrical problems solved.

As a delayed thank you to the volunteers for helping us to move all the supplies up to The Way for the summer, we had a pizza for dinner and our local volunteers brought us pies for dessert. What is not too like about pizza and pies!!!

Reflection tonight centered on the idea of doing unto others as we would like to be treated. A very basic, yet important idea to reflect on. We wrapped up the reflection by sharing our New and Goods for the day.

The window work and yard work, in one shot

Checking the wiring in the attic

How many PVs can you fit into one bathroom?




Part of our kitty welcoming committee

Jun 26

Off and Running!!!!

“It is well to give when asked but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.”    Kahlil Gibran

We are officially off and running with the PV Summer Program in Wyoming County, WV. Volunteers all arrived safe and sound yesterday just in time for a simple communal dinner together. After dinner we gathered for the first commissioning service of the summer. Connecting together in this way and preparing ourselves for the week ahead is always a great centering piece.

After a good nights sleep, only interrupted by 2 coals trains passing in the night, the volunteers were up and eager to begin. As we have in the past few years, the first group of volunteers generously help to get us set up for the rest of the summer by moving our supplies up from St. Vincent dePaul and getting everything organized. Because of their dedication and hard work, the rest of the summer’s volunteers are set up nicely.  It also turned out to be an extra good activity this year as it rained pretty much the entire day.

Pairing up nicely with the weather, we enjoyed chili and cornbread for dinner tonight. It was delicious and hit the spot. The salad wasn’t too bad either : ) And oh, did I mention that we had ice cream for dessert?

For our evening reflection we reflected on experiences that were both challenging and hard and how we learned from those. We also shared a good experience to end on a more positive note. Our life as a tapestry of experiences…

First Grocery Shop! Loading up for the summer….well, maybe the first week

Jun 21

Throwback Thursday – June 21st

In honor of the the first week of the PV Summer Program, we are throwing it back to 1992, the first summer in Preston County , WV. Back then, the first two weeks were reserved just for families. These families are still active with the program #PVvolunteers #WV #1992