PDA Mission Trip #27 (Cumberland, MD): Day 3

Day 3 . . . Hump Day. That’s the day we usually feel the effects from using less frequently used muscles, different sleep routines, and the increased level of activity. But we shake it off because we also are really making progress on our projects and see how much our work means to our homeowners.

On Race Street, we were met with tears of joy as we arrived this morning. Our homeowner felt so uplifted by the improvements we have made and are making on her house. She had been overwhelmed with all that needed to be done, and just getting a new kitchen ceiling and cleaned-up cabinets, appliances, and walls has brought her so much pleasure. She had spent part of her evening washing kitchen curtains and organizing the items on her counters.
Because the forecast for tomorrow calls for rain, we spent a lot of time today scraping old paint off and then painting her front porch. What a difference fresh paint makes, particularly when what was there was very old and mostly flaking off.
The Eastern Avenue team completed their project today. Another very productive day. Stair railings were successfully completed without too many duplicate cuts. Hand rail posts were set in concrete and trim was attached to all the rails. We all worked “nicely” together and kept arguments over tool usages to a minimum. So we have declared this house completed!
Tonight was our Homeowner Dinner and it was a delight to have them with us as we enjoyed another excellent meal from our cooking crew. No matter how hard we work on these trips, we are guaranteed to gain a few pounds. Looking forward to more good work, food, and fellowship tomorrow!


PDA Mission Trip #27 (Cumberland, MD): Day 2

Work Day number 2, and we have melded into precision work group teams. Both teams can be very proud of today’s accomplishments. Anxious to find out just what was completed today? Read on…
Rallying on Race Street, “The Rascals” moved into high gear with more mudding and drywall sanding. The goal is to get the dining room, stairway, and upstairs hallway painted before we leave. But we also took on scraping off flaking paint on the front porch and adding a new front porch ceiling outdoor light, with plans to start painting the front porch tomorrow. But back to today. The crew working on finishing the suspended ceiling felt as if they were engaged in a game of Whack-a-Mole as they tried to properly seat each tile. As one fell into place neatly, the next wouldn’t settle in and we’d have to lift another tile to adjust the problem area and then try to get the lifted tile back in place. After some fancy trim work on the final tile, we got them all to lie down smoothly and celebrated with high fives and applause.
Speaking of worthy of applause, our cooking crew: Ella Bastine, Carol Bunch, Cecelia Bailey, Mel Reid, and Mary and Bob Wasik continue to outdo themselves. They also have become well known at the local Martin’s grocery store serving as ambassadors for PDA. The store even gave them the store discount that is usually reserved for local community members. Let’s face it, Carol and Ella can sweet talk most anyone into doing most anything.
Now, on to those “Engineering Experts” working on Eastern Avenue. Fletcher continues to give them the highest praise. Tonight he said that they were doing the volunteer equivalent of a $15,000 job. More now about what they accomplished.
Our team started work on Monday morning analyzing necessary repairs for two porches (front and rear of the house). The posts holding the roof up consisted of rusted metal structures and were no longer doing an adequate job. So both roofs needed to be jacked up; then the metal posts were cut out and replaced with pressure-treated posts. There were no railings on either porch and the stairs did not have handrails. After the roof was secured, then hand railings were added, including lots of vertical balusters.  As is typical of PDA trips with too many knowledgeable craftspersons, many methods were offered to determine the proper spacing of the balusters. After consultation with the Internet (and we all know that the Internet is always correct), an app was selected to determine a good solution. It all worked out well in the end and the railing looks very nice (the homeowner is very pleased). We have started the stair railings, but most of this work remains (more adventures tomorrow).


PDA Mission Trip #27 (Cumberland, MD): Day 1

Ahh Spring . . . grass greening up, redbuds in bloom, and time for the 27th annual GPC Mission Trip!

Faithful volunteers started arriving at First Presbyterian Church in Cumberland late afternoon/early evening on Easter Sunday. Those who arrived by 6:30 p.m. joined together for a festive kick-off meal at the Applebee’s in LaVale. Guess where everyone in LaVale who wants to eat out on Easter evening goes? Although the service may have taken a little longer, that just meant more quality reunion time for us.

Anticipation was high when the sun shone brightly on Monday morning. Our group was divided into two work teams: one assigned to a house on Race Street where we had worked last fall, and the other tackling a new assignment at a house on Eastern Avenue.


The “Race Street Rascals” spent the day getting down and dusty while mudding and sanding drywall in the dining room and stairway hallway and replacing the kitchen’s suspended tile ceiling. With all faces appropriately masked, we became one with the drywall dust and spray paint fumes from painting the metal grid of the suspended ceiling. We thoroughly enjoyed unmasking during an al fresco lunch in a nearby park gazebo.  The team of Carol Anderson, Alexandra Parker, Lucille Baur, Elisa McClelland, Maxine & Bob Aldridge, and David Mecklenberg all agreed that it was a very productive first day.
And there were the antics of the “Eastern Avenue Engineering Experts.” They started by removing the old, slightly rusty roof supports on the front and back porches, through a combination of unscrewing and Sawzall use, using jacks to support the roof in the interim. They then started replacing the supports with wooden uprights, 4x4s. They also got a start on the horizontal railings around the porch.  Steve Ward, Bob Aldrich, Fletcher Tukes, Bruce Andrews, Abby Lindstrom, and Stuart Morrison had a very good first day and look forward to continuing the second day.
As exciting as our first day was, we really missed our Mission Trip buddies Maxine and Jerry Brown, Fred Hebron, and Charlotte Spencer.  They are in our hearts as they continue to mend and tend to family health challenges. 


PDA Mission Trip #26 (Cumberland, MD): Day 3

Day 3 started with a bang! – Breakfast was Eggs Benedict – Yumm!

The Race St. house crew worked on the porch! Much planning and skill were required prior to removing and replacing the front and side rim joists on the porch floor. The crew stripped and replaced the old flooring. Planning stages are beginning for tomorrow’s addition of lattice work under the porch.  The porch floor will be painted prior to departure.

All the drywall was mudded. A new electrical circuit and light were installed for the homeowner in the attic and bathroom. She can now use the plug in her bathroom without danger of electrocution.  A window was repaired with new glass and the front door installation was completed.

In the bathroom, work was done to upgrade the sink. The team had to reinforce the sink to attach it to the wall. Faucet supply lines were replaced.

They plan to do a lot of sanding and painting tomorrow!

The National Highway house crew continued the work on the basement for the homeowner. Much elbow grease was exuded in scrubbing the floor, prior to painting.  Cleaning efforts on all surfaces were completed. Two workers replaced a piece of mildewed wallboard. In order to repair the wall the power was cut. The rest of the team had to work in the “dark”. (It was interesting to paint without adequate light). Phone flashlights were used in the interim. Such a great team of trim painters! It looks so much lighter and smells sooooooo much better.

Repair work was completed on the basement house door. Two crew members replaced temporary window wrap with a thin piece of tricky plexi-glass. Some interesting comments were heard as they worked. An attempt was made to locate a replacement cardboard to cover the electrical cords on the rear of the refrigerator. 7 appliance part providers were called with no success. A replacement part was invented from silver duct tape and cardboard! 

Organization efforts have begun. Several team members spent time with the homeowner separating items for donation from those that will be kept. A few touch ups will be completed tomorrow on the walls and floor.

An excellent meal was provided by our excellent kitchen team. Both homeowners and the Nails coordinator were invited and partook in a meal of Chicken Pot Pie, steamed veggies, salad and COCONUT MACAROONS with ice cream!

Organization efforts have begun. Several team members spent time with the homeowner separating items for donation from those that will be kept. A few touch ups will be completed tomorrow on the walls and floor.

An excellent meal was provided by our excellent kitchen team. Both homeowners and the Nails coordinator were invited and partook in a meal of Chicken Pot Pie, steamed veggies, salad and COCONUT MACAROONS with ice cream!



PDA Mission Trip #26 (Cumberland, MD): Day 1 & 2

 You know it, you love it, you guessed it…it is the Mission Trip Blog!

Day One was Sunday which began with an 11 a.m. Blue Shirt service led by our Sunday School students, and the perfect send off, a Lindsay Hall potluck lunch. Mary Beth cautioned us to take small servings, but in the end there was more than enough to go around for all who came to enjoy.  

Many of us driving got caught in an I-270 five-car crash (thankfully not involving any of us) which delayed us or detoured us, but it was still a beautiful day to be driving into the mountains. 

Sunday’s Send Off Potluck at GPC

The Race Street House group consisted of most of the men and two ladies. Their biggest job was the front porch which was jacked up today, and tomorrow the support beams and the decking will be replaced. But that wasn’t all, not by a long shot. They replaced the whole dining room ceiling with new drywall and also hung it on the hallway upstairs. They got a new front door from Craig’s List, but had to redo it from right opening to left opening and that is quite a feat with old hardware. There were also several people doing electrical work in the attic that amounted to be much more than they had originally anticipated. It was also really hot up there. The upstairs center front window needed new glass which also entailed glazing it. And we can’t forget the bathroom repair, but we’ll spare you those details.

The National Highway House group was the location where most of the ladies ended up with one intrepid male to assist (all right, he did take a leadership role)…but really we all worked together as a harmonious team. We were to be the artistes, the painters. But first we had to clear out our basement quarters and clean them up. This house is home to 7 inside cats, 15 feral cats, and a dog. We were appropriately gloved and masked for the task. We made great progress today, with cleaning behind us and paint on most of the walls. Tomorrow we also need to paint the concrete floor.

This morning started with below freezing temps, but blossomed into a 60-plus degree afternoon. We had a special guest join us for the dinner wonderfully prepared by our cooks, minus crowd favorite, Carol Bunch. She needs to recoup after a nasty trip and ankle injury while involved in helping to carry a communion table down steps at her church. But I digressed. Our special guest was Carvel Graves, now a sophomore at Frostburg. Carvel had gone on previous mission trips with us. It was a treat to have him with us for a visit.

We look forward to another beautiful and blessed day tomorrow. So stay tuned because who knows what wackiness we’ll get involved in and what wonders we will see.