Job - Spirit Squad
Hometown - Richmond, VA
Birthday - December 26, 1984 (Capricorn)
Year - Class of 2008
Height - 5'4"
Hobbies - riding horses, music, sarcastic remarks
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 floors
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 imagine
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
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,