Mennonite World Review LogoMennonite World Review

Last updated November 24.

Aug. 10, 2009 issue

MDS rebuilds log homes with Native Americans in Alaska

By Brian Pipkin Mennonite Disaster Service

AKRON, Pa. — Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers are doing without many comforts as they help members of a Han Native American community in Eagle, Alaska, return to their homes.

Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers from Lancaster County, Pa., leave July 26 from Akron Mennonite Church to fly to Eagle, Alaska to rebuild 10 log homes for people of the Han Native American community. — Photo provided  by MDS

Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers from Lancaster County, Pa., leave July 26 from Akron Mennonite Church to fly to Eagle, Alaska to rebuild 10 log homes for people of the Han Native American community. — Photo provided by MDS

Groups of skilled volunteers agreed to long working hours, unpredictable weather, sleeping under a tent, cold showers, washing clothes by hand, no cell phone service, limited electricity, no Internet service and eating anything placed before them.

“It is exciting to see how flexible and service-minded people are when we ask for assistance on such a unique project,” said Cathie Kearsley, MDS director of human resources. “The interest level in this project has been phenomenal.”

During April and May, Alaska experienced a series of natural disasters in which a large ice jam gave way on Alaska’s Yukon River and sent massive ice chunks into many of the Native American settlements of Eagle Village.

“Homes had been pushed as far as a half mile from their original positions, bunching them together up against trees,” said Bill McCoy, MDS Region IV director, who recently visited Eagle from Portland, Ore.

McCoy, who was one of the first MDS leaders to arrive in Eagle, began cooperating with Joyce Roberts, the tribal chief. Roberts’ goal is to build “updated homes and not to settle for anything less,” he said

MDS has committed experienced volunteers from Canada and the United States who are willing to serve at least two weeks. Groups of 15, rotating every two weeks, are flying to Eagle until Sept. 12, the date of completion. The goal is to build 10 log homes in nine weeks.

The phones have been exceptionally busy at MDS.

“In five business days, nearly 75 volunteers have been recruited, and over 200 phone calls came into the office expressing interest,” said Kevin King, MDS executive director.

Time is important for Eagle residents and MDS volunteers.

continued on next page »

Comments

  • I think it is such a blessing that these volunteers give of their time and live in those conditions to help people in need. I cannot believe all the volunteers you are getting for this project. I receive the Samaritan's Purse newsletter and it was about the same area Bless all you people do in times of disaster. God Bless

    - Nancie Young (aug 18 at 8:35 p.m.)

Comment on the article MDS rebuilds log homes with Native Americans in Alaska

Please keep comments civil. MWR editors reserve the right to remove any comment. When posting a comment, you agree to the MWR Comments Policy. Name and comment will be posted; commenters are strongly encouraged to give their full name. Email address is for follow-up only and will not be made public.

  • HTML tags are not permitted in comments and will be removed. Markdown syntax may be used for emphasis, blockquotes and links.

MWR Classifieds

Job listings and other offerings

This Week’s Front Page

image of March 17, 2014 front page Download a PDF version of page one of MWR's March 17, 2014 print edition.

© 2012, Mennonite World Review Inc. | All rights reserved.

129 W 6th St Newton KS 67114 | 800-424-0178 | For reprints, write editor (at) mennoworld.org

Made with Django. thanks to dirt circle. icons by famfamfam.

Loading