Friday, September 16, 2005

Volunteer Blogging; Day Five (Last Day)

Today was bittersweet. I am sad to be done volunteering, but I'm also glad that we've accomplished so much. I miss my wife and son, but will miss doing something that gave me such a feeling of usefulness. I made some friends, both fellow volunteers as well as guests, and I'll miss them.

But overall the day was full of good notes on which to end the week. In the morning, I was helping a woman in the computer room. After helping her set up her FEMA request, we went to the Yahoo1 People Finder link I mentioned earlier, and I helped her discover that her 21-year-old son is still alive. His last known location was the Astrodome on September 7, but he's alive.

:ater in the day I and another volunteer gave a ride to a young couple who were looking for an apartment. He just found a job as a welder yesterday. They found a nice place in Humble (pronounced "umble" apparently). While they were filling out paperwork, we drove over to a nearby Methoist church and saw to it that they were aware of the presence of this young couple and the fact that they'll have some immediate needs until his paychecks start coming in. The church promised us they'll take care of them -- it's already sent some of their own congregation as volunteers.

And the best news of the week. When we left at 2:30, there were a reporter and cameraman setting up. By the time we returned it had grown to four camera crews.

You see the shelter has in residence a blind man from New Orleans named James who had lost his service dog and longtime companion "Jake", a yellow lab. When I returned to the shelter on Wednesday, there were signs up asking if anyone had seen the dog -- apparently it had been rescued by a National Guardsman, and been relocated to a shelter, but noone knew where.

Well, they finally tracked the dog down to a shelter in Louisiana (Slidell or Baton Rouge, I can't remember which), and today a volunteer drove him to Houston. Right around 6:30, the time I was getting ready to finish my last day's work, I had the joy of watching them reunite James and Jake.

I'm not ashamed to tell you I cried like a baby. Most of us did. Not only was it a wonderfil, heartwarming event, it was tangible evidence that our efforts have not been in vain. It was a welcome release of the week's pent up emotions to cry. I'm really grateful to God for ending my week's volunteering on an up note.