New Hope helps cleanup in Galveston

About 20 members and friends of New Hope Lutheran Church went down to Galveston Island on Saturday, October 4th, 2008 to help with the Gulf Coast Lutheran Work Day organized by the Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the ELCA. Some stayed and helped at Zion Lutheran Church, while others of us worked on congregation members' houses and houses of those in the community.

There were fragmented and mashed gypsum board on the street, on the curb, and in people's yards. Trash piles everywhere. Appliances, mattresses, furniture, clothes. Boats strewn along Highway 45 coming into Galveston. The air had a musty, fishy smell that was actually pretty mild, but only because the breeze was blowing. In some of the houses, the smell was worse. In others it wasn't bad at all. In every house, mold could be seen everywhere.

50-75% of the trees and bushes are clearly not going to make it because of the salt water poisoning. The palm trees seem like they will live.

Many didn't have flood insurance. Too expensive, they say. Every house we saw on foot had water in the house from the storm surge. All would have to be gutted.

The residents were slowly digging out. It's going to take a long time for many of them and for Galveston. I think they know it.

We did talk to the residents, but not much. I wish we would have. But there were things to be done.

Effects of flooding along the Gulf Coast. A satellite image from NASA.

A NY Times article about the aftermath in Galveston.

Waiting to sign in and get our assignment for the day.

Volunteers remove Zion Lutheran Church's organ console and place it on the curb to be hauled away. Volunteers gutted the church and adjoining buildings. Water rose to about four feet in the buildings.

Helping clean up the outside of our first house, owned by a congregant of Zion. We couldn't help on the inside of the house for various reasons. I heard that the house hadn't been entered or opened since the hurricane. It was apparent that this house had almost four feet of water in it during the hurricane.

This bush isn't going to make it. A victim of the salt water. I'm guessing most of the bushes and trees affected by the salt water will die. Most already looked dead.

Mark Perin shows where the water level reached.

From this house, we removed furniture, a soaked foam-type matress, clothes, and some sodden carpeting.

Note the mold on the back of this piece of furniture.

We eventually moved on to a house across the street. The people were starting to rip up their subfloor. It had to come up--there was still water underneath and the plywood and 2x4s were soaked. We got ten or so people on the job and ripped up almost their entire floor in about two hours.



This gentleman owns this house with his wife. Rick, Phillip and Dennis are seen here.

They had a nice tile floor in their dining room and kitchen. It had to go. There was soaked wood underneath. Sledgehammers and wrecking bars.

Short video of the removal of the subfloor.

Piles of the subfloor.

Also see some of our photos of the effects of Ike in Sugar Land.

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