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25 from PNC and DOC-NW rebuild in Puerto Rico

Meighan Pritchard, Rick Russell and Gary Loyd were ready to work on their first day on repairs in Puerto Rico.

Photos courtesy of Mary Olney-Loyd and Meighan Pritchard

Disciples and UCC folks spent the first week of April rebuilding homes in central Puerto Rico on a Mission Pilgrimage to Puerto Rico arranged through the Global Ministries Committee and let by Randy Crowe, who led similar recovery work teams for several years in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The team of 25 is staying at Camp Morton, a DOC camp there, while they help homeowners in the mountains near Barranquitas, PR, rebuild after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, said Mary Olney-Loyd in Facebook reports.

“From the dorm where we are staying, we can see equipment moving earth to repair a landslide at the camp,” said Mary.  “With the loss of many trees, there have been landslides in many places in this mountainous land.”

While one group worked on resealing a roof, Mary and Margaret Ennis of Westminster UCC in Spokane scraped walls and the ceiling of a carport and painted it.

“My worker buddies,” said Mary, “are Randy Crowe who knows carpentry and Margaret. We drink lots of water.

Equipment cleans up landslide after a recent rain. Dorm where team is staying is in the background.

“Randy fixed window cranks and put in an inside door. Margaret and I scraped walls and ceiling of a carport and to paint,” she said.

Tasks included sealing a roof, bathroom repair, demolishing and replacing a roof, painting, repairing/replacing windows and doors, and installing floors.

The team members were Eric Johnson from Wayside UCC in Federal Way; Van Kichline, Dick Johnson, and Ryan and daughter Grace Lambert of Kirkland UCC; Meighan Pritchard and Rick Russell of Prospect UCC, Mary and Gary Loyd of All Pilgrims, Ed Philyaw and grandson, Cole Dalton, of St. Paul’s UCC, and Jim Spraker, Dan Durland and Jocelyn Colt-Durland of Plymouth UCC all in Seattle; Mary Rupert, Margaret Ennis, Kent Johnson, and Randy and Linda Crowe of Westminster UCC in Spokane; and David and Kathy Helseth, Dennis Boyd, Becky Buell, and Jim and Cheryl Prokop from Englewood in Yakima.

Randy Crowe with Margaret Ennis, both of Westminster in Spokane, repairs a window and put in an inside door.

For information, check Facebook: Mary Olney-Loyd and Meigan Pritchard or email randycrowe. crowe@

Reflections shared April 22 by participant Jim Spraker:

The words, "You bring Love and Hope,”  greeted us from Jose, the project leader of the Puerto Rico Disciples Disaster ministry. Twenty five of us from UCC and Disciples of Christ churches in Washington State spent a week repairing houses impacted by Hurricane Maria.

In the fall of 2017 Puerto Rico was hit with two Hurricanes . Hurricane Irma came first, then Maria a Category 5 Hurricane with winds of 175 mph and 40 inches of rain in 48 hours. The damage was catastrophic, with both property  damage and human suffering. The death toll was 2900+. Most of the island’s population experienced flooding and a lack of resources, compounded by a slow relief process. High winds knocked out the communication network and the electric system. Electric power was out from 6-10 months some areas. The blown down trees and massive rain fall resulted in landslides in the mountain areas. Flooding and winds damaged or destroyed many homes. There are 100,000 homes still in need of repair. The total loss was estimated at 92 billion dollars, Jim reported.

"We did a variety of tasks to make the homes more habitable. Some of us repaired roofs by power washing and then applying two coats of sealant. Others repaired damaged windows and doors. One group repaired a ceiling and restored electricity. All of us got a chance to paint," he said. "We made a difference in the lives of a few people in Puerto Rico.

"People to People is a rewarding Ministry. It was an opportunity to interact with our fellow citizens and learn about their lives. We worked on their homes, they cooked us lunch and we worshiped in their church," Jim said. "I am glad to have participated in our Pacific Northwest Conference’s Global Ministries Mission to Puerto Rico."


PNC-UCC News copyright © April-May 2019





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