Spring break is known as the season of drunken debauchery and other poor decision-making. However, from March 15-20, the students of University of West Georgia’s Wesley Foundation sought to redefine what it meant to properly use the break. On their mission trip to Pensacola, FL, volunteers of the Wesley Foundation gathered to help finish repairs on two houses that were damaged by floods last April.
The home where they spent the majority of their time belonged to the Lamont family, a lovely elderly couple that have been taking care of their baby grandson, Jake. Floor tiles were scraped off and laid in piles and were later bagged for disposal. Walls were brightened with a fresh coat of white paint. New art deco tile adorned the kitchen and outdoor porch area. Other countless repairs of major and minor capacities reached completion, some of which included caulking and door repair. Overall, the final effect floored the Lamont’s and parting at the end of the week proved bittersweet.
The trip was not all work and no play. On Wednesday, March 18, the group gathered to watch the Blue Angels naval aviation stunt team practice their air show at the National Naval Aviation Museum. They later relaxed for some well-deserved beach time. More than one participant returned to base camp that night with sunburned skin. Despite this day of reprieve, the students eagerly jumped back into work the next day.
When a disaster like a flood happens, there is usually an initial onslaught of volunteers that come to assist, but then people go back to their normal lives while there is still work to be done; that is where long-term aid groups such as Habitat for Humanity, among others, that the Wesley Foundation partnered with comes in. These individuals recognized the need to continue to work on damaged homes and other disaster-related issues, even months after the media moves on. UWG students that participated in this trip, along with other college students across the country, had the opportunity to become a part of this movement.
“I was very blessed to work with the Lamont family and have an impact on their lives,” said UWG sophomore Taylor Smith.
“The Pensacola Trip was the first mission trip I had ever been on and I really enjoyed it,” said UWG freshman, Joshua Oller. “I had always thought of mission trips as having to go to Africa and helping people out there. I forgot that I can make a difference close to home.”