In response to the damage done to Trona Community Church as a result of the Ridgecrest earthquake, a Cal-Pac Early Response Team (ERT) of 15 volunteers from 9 different churches across the Conference came to Trona to work for 3 days in late July. This small community church is held in trust by the North District Union with the intent that it eventually become a resource and meeting place for the whole community.
The team was asked to evaluate the building and, if possible, make it safe, sanitary, and secure. County officials had yellow-tagged the building, principally due to several sections of the ceiling collapsing on the sanctuary floor leaving piles of broken sheet rock and ceiling tiles all over the pews. In addition, due to ground shift, several doors could not be secured, a block wall collapsed, and there were some stucco, plumbing and electrical issues.
Inside, the team cleared the debris, saving as many ceiling tiles as possible. Necessary sheetrock, ceiling tiles, stucco mesh, cement, plumbing fixtures and a sheet rock lift were purchased at local stores in Ridgecrest. The ceiling was completely restored, door jams were re-aligned to allow normal door functioning, electrical wiring was traced and fans and light fixtures replaced, and minor plumbing repairs were made.
Outside, exploratory trenches were dug to examine damaged stucco and the damaged rock wall was cleared away. One group was able to get away and help a local neighbor clear broken debris out of their house.
Temperatures were triple digits all three days with lots of Gatorade and water consumption. But the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie more than made up for the sweat and sore muscles.
The connectional unity within the Cal-Pac Conference to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster through the DRTF ministry has been, in a word, awesome.
For more information, contact Judy Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.