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Volunteers reach out in VA

When asked why he'd take a month off his carpentry job to help people recover from a disaster that's nowhere near headline news, Daryl Ebersole simply said it's how he expresses his faith.

BY SUSAN KIM | POQUOSON, Va. | May 3, 2004

When asked why he'd take a month off his carpentry job to help people recover from a disaster that's nowhere near headline news, Daryl Ebersole simply said it's how he expresses his faith.

Last weekend Ebersole traveled with his wife, Vonda, and their 18-month-old daughter from Elizabethtown, Penn., to Poquoson, Va., where they will spend the next month helping repair homes damaged by Hurricane Isabel in September 2003.

The Ebersoles are project directors for the Church of the Brethren Disaster Response.

Daryl Ebersole said he sees volunteering as a way of giving back to God. "It's my faith and I'm grateful for what Christ did for me. This just happens to be the way I feel called to express that."

The Ebersoles and their fellow project directors, Marvin and Regina Zimmerman, have their work cut out for them.

Hurricane Isabel was the worst disaster to strike Virginia and Maryland in recent memory. The category 2 hurricane caused extensive damage in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware, and Washington, D.C., and claimed 40 lives. Power outages, flooding, downed trees, debris and property damage were evident throughout the affected area.

Overall, 1,340 homes were destroyed, 11,617 sustained major damage, and 26,742 received minor damage.

Brethren Disaster Response opened its Poquoson recovery project in early February. The coastal town was not only damaged by fallen trees but also inundated by a storm surge at high tide.

Residents need help repairing flood-damaged floors, insulation, drywall and roofs.

Marvin Zimmerman, a retired machinist, said he believes he's putting his personal skills to use for a good cause. "I do a lot of woodworking at home on the side, too," he said, "and so I feel like I'm bringing a good combination of skills."

Volunteers - teams of 16 to 24 people - are being housed in the fellowship hall of the LifeSource Community Church in Hampton, Va., a nearby city.


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