Our final day of this mission trip was even more beautiful than the day before. Since the first full day of hot and muggy weather, it has been clear, cool and breezy all day. It was a perfect day to work on Eric’s home.

We were back in Sea Bright for an early start and we’re joined by Ryan as a fifth member of the team. Ryan is a high school senior from northern NJ who spends the summer with his family in Rumson, just across the river from our job site (inland from the shoreline).

The whole team spent the day working to finish the underlayment on the first floor. Avery and Cheri worked in the back of the house cutting and fitting pieces in utility room, closet and bathroom. Both worked hard to do some of the most difficult flooring work on the site. Lenny, Ryan and Mike worked in the living room and made great progress as a team. By the end of the day we had completed over 90% of the flooring. Leaving with a few pieces left is always difficult, but like other mission projects we know that another team will come in behind to finish.

During our lunch break, the team decided we would spend it driving north along the coast to get a sense of how much damage was done by Sandy. We had Ryan as our guide for the tour and learned a lot about the storm damage. We ended up at a 9/11 memorial overlooking Sandy Hook up to the Manhattan skyline. The memorial included all of the names of people from Monmouth County who lost their lives that day.

During our trip, our team saw many homes and businesses that were totally rebuilt. But like New Orleans, driving down side streets reveals abandoned homes, others being worked on or waiting to be. Sea Bright Rising has a goal of 40 homes to complete this year and more the following. They have a definite need for donations to purchase materials for their job sites and hire contractors for the work volunteers cannot do.

Our trip back home gave the team time to reflect on the work we did and future plans. Like all mission trips, we came back changed by the experience and wanting to do more.

Condemned home along the shore:

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Apartment complex ruined by twin storm surges:

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Another business damaged by Sandy:

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Koffi and Miriam, our site supervisors – the best!

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