Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break 2014 - Washington, IL

Spring break is typically a time to relax somewhere warm, but this year I had the pleasure chaperoning 11 Barrington High School (BHS) students to volunteer with the cleanup from the November, 2013 tornado in Washington, IL as part of the Go Beyond Barrington (GBB) non-profit organization.  In 2011 after the tornado in Joplin, MO I challenged our Boy Scout Troop 21 to find a way to help and from this the GBB was formed to partner with BHS.  In 2012 and 2013 GBB went to Joplin, MO to help the high school students and residents.  Over those two years in addition to volunteering to help clear debris and work with Habitat for Humanity they also donated $40,000 which was raised by the students from varies events thought the year.
This year the group helped clear debris, sort clothing and demo the in inside of a damaged house, down to the studs.  The owner of the house was very grateful for the help and very impressed with the work ethic of the students, all of which had never done this type of work before.   It was dirty, dusty and physically challenging.  In one day the group filled 3, 40 yrd dumpsters with drywall, cabinets, flooring and insulation.
An impactful moment came when the owner of the house told us their story of when the tornado hit.  The father was outside and saw the tornado coming and in his hurry back inside to gather his family and rush to the basement he forgot to close the garage.  The garage was then ripped from the house, along with the roof.  All of the windows were instantly broken.  After coming up from the basement with their two year old daughter to survey the damage, the daughter said, “My swing set is gone!”   The father told her, “don’t worry we will replace it.”, and she said, “Ok, but I want a pink one this time”.  All of the houses around them were completely destroyed.  6 people lost their lives that day in and around Washington and unlike Joplin, most homes here had basements.
This year GBB raised and donated $10,000 to the relief organization Behthany Community Church located in Washington, IL.   The church has organized over 8,000 volunteers to work on the clean up so far.
For more information about Go Beyond Barrington, visit their website at and on Facebook.

The golf course in Washington was also hit by the tornado.  Cleanup was just beginning.

One day was spent gutting the house down to the studs so that rebuilding could begin.

The students from Barrington High School who spent their Spring Break in Washington, IL

These stars of hope were placed around the city, similar to what we saw in Joplin, MO.