Day 1 & 2: Devlin S-AFE Service Trip in New Orleans
Jan. 7, 2014
Twenty two Boston College student-athletes traveled to New Orleans for the fifth annual Devlin S-AFE Service Immersion Trip to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Each day, a student-athlete will blog about the experience.
Day One & Two: Collin Fedor, Men's Track & Field
After starting at a brisk 4:40 a,m., we arrived into New Orleans after a long day of travel. After settling into Annuciation, the Mission kind enough to host us, we went to the Lower Ninth Ward. Known by most as the area hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina, seeing the devastation was a very sobering experience. Once a thriving and densely populated neighborhood, it was characterized by empty lots and decrepit houses. However, there was a moment of hope and recovery when Jeff Burke [baseball] and Ryan Dunn [soccer] stopped to say hello to the family living in the house they built last year. Seeing them put a smile on everyone's faces proved the impact of this trip.
We had a quick turnaround as we headed into the exciting French Quarter downtown. Although the visit was short, it didn't take long to soak in the atmosphere along Bourbon Street.
With an early end to the night, we got off to an early start this morning. Fueled by some excellent homemade pancakes and sausage, we made our way over to the St. Bernard Project to get to work. We're doing our volunteer the nonprofit started by a couple that visited post-Katrina New Orleans and took the challenge to contribute to this great city's return to normalcy. St. Bernard has helped create homes for more than 500 families affected by the storm and its aftermath. Our group of 25 was split among two worksites: One assigned to demolition and the other assigned to "finishing touches." I'm working on finishing touches with more than half of the group.
Despite the cold, working on the site was great! It wasn't long before we were hard at work. For most of us, it was the first time working on a house like this, but we were quick learners. We attacked the power saw and wielded the nail gun like pros. I was on a team that worked on the base and shoe molding of the bedrooms. The floor laminates are all laid down and the house is actually starting to look like a home! Stephen Sauter [baseball] and Alex Kapp [soccer] made better doors than windowsills, while a few others laid tiles in the bathroom. We worked for a solid four hours and impressed the site manager with our hard work and dedication.
Our dedication didn't end at the worksite. We went straight to Tulane University where we had the opportunity to get in a workout. The quest for excellence doesn't take a break! I went for a run with my teammate Shane Constantine around Tulane and soaked in the southern sun. We settled into supper for a New Orleans Monday night classic, red beans and rice. We topped off the night dominating the lanes at Rock N' Bowl.
It's been a great trip so far and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. There's a huge difference between talking about when the levees broke and seeing right where the cracks were. Eight years later the damage is still obvious, but hope lies in the spirit of these strong people. It's a great privilege to be able to lend a helping hand and it's certainly something special to do it with so many BC student-athletes.