Jul 10

Put Your Heart, Mind and Soul…

Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.         Swami Sivananda

The crew spent most of the day up at the ramp site in Rock View. There are some finishing pieces that needed to be done from last week and they put a good dent into today. The volunteers were able to trim back the shelter roof that was now hanging over the newly built ramp. You would never know that it looked any different after the trim. They were also able to build an additional platform and ramp section that ended up being needed after we realized that the driveway kind of falls away and we needed some extra length to make up for it. It looks great and should be done after half a day tomorrow.

The group also spent their lunch hour down at St. Vincent dePaul to be available to help unload a large truck of donations that were coming. By the time the truck arrived from Wheeling there were a lot of helpers there to unload so the volunteers went back up to the site, but not before enjoying pizza a time catching up with Debbie.

Dinner tonight was quite a gourmet feast. We had sweet potato and/or meat tacos, with homemade black bean, corn and cilantro salsa and all the other taco fixings. It was all delicious.

Tonight’s reflection was about kindness. The kindness we show others, that others show us and the kindness we often forget to show ourselves. We shared kindnesses that we have seen here in West Virginia.

Jul 07

You Can Never Know How Many Lives You’ve Touched…

You can never know how many lives you’ve touched, so just know it’s far more than you think. Even the tiniest acts of love, kindness, and compassion can have a massive ripple effect. You have made the world a better place, even if it doesn’t seem like.                     Lori Deschene

Well, the heatwave finally broke today…. Of course for that to happen we had torrential rains and wind, but it is really nice to have some cooler temperatures. A crew went to the ramp site to finish up the majority of the ramp and the railings. We will return next week to put the finishing touches on it. The crew this week did a great job and the home owners were very happy with the results so far.

A second group spent their day at Energy Express in Mullens. Energy Express is a summer programs for kids that includes reading and crafts. It is run my local youth who have just graduated high school or are in college. The volunteers assist wherever is needed and join in on all the activities and lunch.

Since it is the end of the week, tonight was our leftover bonanza night. Some dishes were straight up leftovers, others were new concoctions made out of leftovers. It was a delicious meal AND helped clean out the refrigerator before next week.

Also since it is the last day of the week, it is the night that we have a closing reflection. It is a chance to look back on the week’s experiences and share with the community the effect that the week had on us.

Thank you to all this week’s volunteers!!! You had a lot of obstacles (extreme heat, challenging sites and did I mention extreme heat : ) ) and you persevered through it all. There are a lot of tired bodies tonight, but also a lot of great memories.

Reggie, the newest member of the PV family…Another WV cat goes home with a compassionate PV : )

Ramp, near completion

Storm clouds rolling in

Ramp in progress

Everyone has a job to do

Jul 06

To Love Means…

To love means loving the unlovable.  To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.  Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.  Gilbert K. Chesterton

It was another hot day here in Wyoming County, but like the troopers they are, the volunteers preserved and put in another long day of hard work. Work continued at the ramp site. Volunteers arrived early to help the home owner out of the house in order to go to his doctors appointment.  Before the end of the day, they were able to get the ramp to a point so that when they returned home from the doctors appointment this evening they could use most of the ramp.

The other group finished up painting the kitchen at the house in Glen Fork, as well as installing a threshold and the door on the circuit breaker box. In the afternoon the group patched a couple of holes in the drywall in the living room and repaired and painted the ceiling molding.

We were treated to breakfast for dinner tonight. The dinner was delicious and consisted of a yummy vegetable frittata, french toast, potatoes and local sausage. It was topped off with cinnamon rolls for dessert.

In the evening gathering we were asked to reflect on our road/journey and to share what we are bringing to share, from smiles, to a listening ear, to compassion.  Besides this sharing, we shared a new and good from the day.

PV and home owner working together

Girl power!

Ramp progress

A view from the top

More girl power!

Jul 05

Do your little bit…

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  Desmond Tutu

Happy 4th of July!!! We hope you all had an enjoyable 4th with family and friends. The volunteers spent the day together painting the Black Eagle Baptist Church. It was hot, but it was a fun way to spend the day together. Of course we had to finish the work day with a Dairy Queen stop which just happened to be two doors down from the church.

We capped off the day with a cookout, a whiffle ball game, a visit from foxy lady and sparklers!!!!

Enjoy some pictures:

Painting at Black Eagle Church

We were well fed

Clean up

Clean up turned into a little bit of a cool down with the hose

PVs hard at work

Sitting down on the job, but it was necessary to reach the low area

Synchronized painting… talk about community bonding

A community effort

Happy group at the end of the day… Dairy Queen here we come!!!!

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