Job - Spirit Squad
Hometown - Richmond, VA
Birthday - December 26, 1984 (Capricorn)
Year - Class of 2008
Height - 5'4"
Hobbies - riding horses, music, sarcastic
Favorite TV Show - Entourage
Favorite Music - Tea Leaf Green, Particle,
STS9, Ryan Adams, Phish, The Grateful Dead, The Grove
Favorite New Orleans Cuisine - PO BOY
Favorite Demo Work - sledgehammering, being
wheelbarrowed into the trash by Ira Andrews, removing linoleum
And now a moment for reflection on
my personal experiences in NOLA...
The past two weeks have flown by. I can’t
believe I am already back in Ashland. When I signed up for this
class, I knew that it would be a rewarding experience, but I had
no idea just how much I would get out of it.
Leaving for the trip after Christmas, I was in quite a materialistic
state of mind. After giving and receiving Christmas presents, I
had spent a lot of time shopping and spending money. However, my
materialistic mind set changed completely in New Orleans. There
were so many times in New Orleans that I had to reevaluate myself
and my values. Why have I placed so much importance on my material
possessions? It made me feel guilty having to throw away the possessions
of an entire family over the course of a few hours when I knew I
had a house full of clothes, etc. waiting for me in Richmond. It
seemed so unfair to me that these people had everything taken from
them so quickly. Why hadn’t I been the one who lost everything?
What makes me and my classmates different from these people?
Trying to find the answer to just that question is what taught me
the most about myself, others, and life during my trip to New Orleans.
The answer is I am no different than owners of the homes that we
worked on. We are all human beings, wanting to make the best for
ourselves and our families, and doing the best with what God hands
I found the people of New Orleans to be some of the most positive
and spirited people I have ever come across, even during their time
of loss. I expected to find people depressed and sad, and what I
found were people with the best attitudes and outlooks on life I
have ever seen. These people really know what is important in life.
It’s not the label on your clothes or the size of the house
you live in. It is the people you surround yourself with, your friends
and family. It is the ability to connect with someone as a human,
regardless of your race or how much money you have.
When I came to New Orleans, I knew that I would be giving of myself
in the form of time and energy. What I didn’t know was how
much I was going to receive. I never met a family along our journey
that didn’t say thank you to us for what we were doing. People
were shocked to find out that we had paid money to come and help
them, but there is no amount of money that could equal what I gained
on my trip south. One of the most memorable moments of the trip
for me was when the Collins family took us to dinner. I was absolutely
overwhelmed with their kindness and generosity, and couldn’t
believe how appreciative they were. After Katrina had taken nearly
everything they had, they still managed to find the means to take
us to dinner and even buy us presents. Maralyn and Rodger even told
us that they were planning on coming to graduation at R-MC for the
next 4 years, one of the sweetest gestures of appreciation I can
I also developed many friendships on the trip. I learned something
from every single member of the class, and learned to respect each
of them. Everyone brought something to the table, and I learned
to appreciate everyone for what they contributed. Although some
people may not have been able to carry a bathtub out of a house,
everyone worked as hard as they could and gave it their all. I am
so blessed to have been able to surround myself with a group of
people who all wanted to give of themselves over J-term.
I am sure this journal is a little rambling and incoherent, because
there is so much to say about my experiences in New Orleans. I am
just so grateful to have gotten to be a part of this once in a lifetime
opportunity. Although I gave of myself while I was in Louisiana,
I received far more in the form of appreciation, friendship, and