Their Boss is a Jewish Carpenter

This is a tribute to Duane and Brad. Before August 28, we did not know either of them, nor they us. But a few days after the flood, Duane came to our house and introduced himself. He’s a retired contractor and wanted to help us rebuild. He heard about us through people at Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church,  where we have been worshiping since January. He attends a church in the same denomination in Amsterdam, NY, and he lives in Schoharie (on a big hill!). At first, he offered to store the wood floors and trim for us that needed to dry out and be reinstalled. After the clean-up  and gutting was finished, he and his friend Brad came every day to build. They adopted our house and showed up every day as though it was their job. But of course it wasn’t. Every morning Duane, Brad and Frank worked on the house then went to the Reformed Church in town for a hot meal. (Yes, people are still serving a hot meal for volunteers and homeowners every day.) Duane has rheumatoid arthritis, so they would then go home and rest. Brad traveled a great distance every day.

This is why I was able to see progress every day when I came home from school. On the few days when I did not have school and stayed home, I loved to work with Duane and Brad around. There lots of jokes and kidding–all good-natured– and the work was actually fun. I kept thinking about the bumper sticker, “My boss is a Jewish carpenter”. I didn’t hear Duane or Brad say much about their faith, but they were living it every day by giving freely and sacrificially of their time and talent to help us in our need.

They enlisted the help of others from their church. Bill was there almost every day, and his wife Marilyn, in her first year of retirement from teaching,was there from time to time. Alice loves demolition and is very good at cleaning up after the construction work. Marilyn and Alice would do nice things for the house for me, like leave a bouquet of flowers, or clean the windows, or clean the mud from a few stools and bring them inside so we could sit in the downstairs.

The team decided a few weeks ago to move on. There are so many people in need, and they have brought our house to the point where we have walls. There is just taping, painting, trim, and floors to go. And, well, a few other things. But every day I see places that have just been gutted, and some that look the same as they did after the flood. So the need in this area is still very great. They are now working on a house that was very near the water outside Middleburgh. The family had no one to help them at all.

When we tell our grandchildren about the flood, their names and selfless service will be part of the story. We will tell of the love and help from so many people in so many ways. God has used these people to give us hope and strength that was even more powerful than the raging waters that turned the things in our home upside down.

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