[Hpn] We Care partners with others to build new home for Bay Minette woman

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sun, 23 Dec 2007 06:03:55 -0500


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A new life after the storm
We Care partners with others to build new home for Bay Minette woman=20

Sunday, December 23, 2007=20

By BETH OSBORNE
Correspondent=20

http://www.al.com:80/news/press-register/baldwin.ssf?/base/news/119840490=
5286720.xml&coll=3D3
Life for Patricia Mendez of Bay Minette has not been easy in the more =
than two years since Hurricane Katrina.=20

Mendez's home was hit hard by the storm. She received assistance from =
the American Red Cross to make the repairs, but a contractor later found =
that the home was not structurally sound.=20

The subsequent recommendation was that the home be demolished. Since the =
funds received were not for rebuilding, Mendez found herself homeless =
with no idea of how to rebuild.=20

      =20
    =20

This wasn't the only problem Mendez was experiencing. Several years =
earlier, she was left physically disabled and functionally illiterate =
following an automobile accident in which she was severely injured, and =
her one source of income gave her only $623 per month to live on.=20

Then, Henry "Digger" Creel, disaster relief coordinator in the Bayou La =
Batre field office for the Volunteers of America Southeast, came into =
the picture. The Red Cross contacted Volunteers of America to see if the =
organization could offer any help to Mendez.=20

On Friday, Mendez moved into a new, almost 900-square-foot home built on =
the same spot where her old home used to stand. We Care of Baldwin =
County partnered with the Baldwin County Home Builders Association, the =
Volunteers of America and the American Red Cross to build the home for =
Mendez.=20

And it was built, furnished and landscaped in only seven days, with much =
of the materials and all labor being donated by area businesses and the =
We Care group.=20

"It's wonderful -- I'm overwhelmed," her son, Dwayne Mendez, said after =
seeing the inside of the home. "It's been rough. She hasn't had anything =
but bad luck. This is so much of a blessing, and I'm happy for her. I'm =
glad people care like this."=20

Creel said that when he first heard the Mendez story, he talked with =
Lillie Kraver of Daphne, who also works with Volunteers of America. =
Kraver was touched by the story and wanted to do something. Having grown =
up in Bayou La Batre, and with family there when Katrina hit, she knew =
first-hand how devastating that kind of loss could be.=20

Kraver remembered a friend she made in the Bayou during the rebuilding =
of a home -- Bobby Clark, president of We Care.=20

Following her discussion with Creel, Kraver, who now runs Kravers =
Seafood Restaurant in Daphne, found an old e-mail from Clark. She had =
not seen him since the rebuilding days in Bayou La Batre. She printed =
the e-mail, and before pinning it on her board at work, she added a =
handwritten note.=20

"I wrote to pray for the ability to build this lady a house, and put it =
on my board," Kraver said. The next day, out of the blue, in walked =
Clark to have lunch at Kraver's restaurant.=20

"I said, I've got something to tell you,'" Kraver said, wondering what =
he would think. "He said I believe in stuff like that,' and it =
transpired to this. It's totally a God thing," Kraver said. Kraver's =
restaurant later served lunch for the crew during one of the Mendez =
build days.=20

Clark's wife, Lori, led the decorating team for the Mendez house, which =
was completely furnished and ready when she was given the key at the =
dedication. This is the third We Care home Lori has furnished and =
decorated, and she had some big help this time.=20

Jenae Wilson, of Pensacola, said she always looks for a "Christmas =
miracle" to be a part of each year. Through Kraver, she learned of the =
Mendez situation, and knew she wanted to do something to help. Wilson =
helped with furniture and accessories, and added a few special touches =
-- she took several pieces found in the rubble of the old Mendez home, =
cleaned them up and used them in the new kitchen.=20

In one old but bright yellow tea kettle, Wilson put a bouquet of fresh =
tulips to signify a new start for Mendez.=20

"My motto for the new year is in that little kettle," Wilson said. "It's =
a sign of hope and rebirth, and that sometimes God takes us through =
storms and takes care of us."=20



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<H1 class=3Dred>
<H1 class=3Dred>A new life after the storm</H1></H1>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead><B>We Care partners with others to build new home =
for Bay=20
Minette woman</B> </DIV>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead><STRONG></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>Sunday, December 23, 2007 </DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>
<DIV>By BETH OSBORNE</DIV></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln><B><B>Correspondent</B></B> </DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>&nbsp;</DIV>
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href=3D"http://www.al.com:80/news/press-register/baldwin.ssf?/base/news/1=
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r/baldwin.ssf?/base/news/1198404905286720.xml&amp;coll=3D3</A></FONT></DI=
V>
<P>Life for Patricia Mendez of Bay Minette has not been easy in the more =
than=20
two years since Hurricane Katrina. </P>
<P>Mendez's home was hit hard by the storm. She received assistance from =
the=20
American Red Cross to make the repairs, but a contractor later found =
that the=20
home was not structurally sound. </P>
<P>The subsequent recommendation was that the home be demolished. Since =
the=20
funds received were not for rebuilding, Mendez found herself homeless =
with no=20
idea of how to rebuild. </P>
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<P>This wasn't the only problem Mendez was experiencing. Several years =
earlier,=20
she was left physically disabled and functionally illiterate following =
an=20
automobile accident in which she was severely injured, and her one =
source of=20
income gave her only $623 per month to live on. </P>
<P>Then, Henry "Digger" Creel, disaster relief coordinator in the Bayou =
La Batre=20
field office for the Volunteers of America Southeast, came into the =
picture. The=20
Red Cross contacted Volunteers of America to see if the organization =
could offer=20
any help to Mendez. </P>
<P>On Friday, Mendez moved into a new, almost 900-square-foot home built =
on the=20
same spot where her old home used to stand. We Care of Baldwin County =
partnered=20
with the Baldwin County Home Builders Association, the Volunteers of =
America and=20
the American Red Cross to build the home for Mendez. </P>
<P>And it was built, furnished and landscaped in only seven days, with =
much of=20
the materials and all labor being donated by area businesses and the We =
Care=20
group. </P>
<P>"It's wonderful -- I'm overwhelmed," her son, Dwayne Mendez<B>,</B> =
said=20
after seeing the inside of the home. "It's been rough. She hasn't had =
anything=20
but bad luck. This is so much of a blessing, and I'm happy for her. I'm =
glad=20
people care like this." </P>
<P>Creel said that when he first heard the Mendez story, he talked with =
Lillie=20
Kraver of Daphne, who also works with Volunteers of America. Kraver was =
touched=20
by the story and wanted to do something. Having grown up in Bayou La =
Batre, and=20
with family there when Katrina hit, she knew first-hand how devastating =
that=20
kind of loss could be. </P>
<P>Kraver remembered a friend she made in the Bayou during the =
rebuilding of a=20
home -- Bobby Clark, president of We Care. </P>
<P>Following her discussion with Creel, Kraver, who now runs Kravers =
Seafood=20
Restaurant in Daphne, found an old e-mail from Clark. She had not seen =
him since=20
the rebuilding days in Bayou La Batre. She printed the e-mail, and =
before=20
pinning it on her board at work, she added a handwritten note. </P>
<P>"I wrote to pray for the ability to build this lady a house, and put =
it on my=20
board," Kraver said. The next day, out of the blue, in walked Clark to =
have=20
lunch at Kraver's restaurant. </P>
<P>"I said, I've got something to tell you,'" Kraver said, wondering =
what he=20
would think. "He said I believe in stuff like that,' and it transpired =
to this.=20
It's totally a God thing," Kraver said. Kraver's restaurant later served =
lunch=20
for the crew during one of the Mendez build days. </P>
<P>Clark's wife, Lori, led the decorating team for the Mendez house, =
which was=20
completely furnished and ready when she was given the key at the =
dedication.=20
This is the third We Care home Lori has furnished and decorated, and she =
had=20
some big help this time. </P>
<P>Jenae Wilson, of Pensacola, said she always looks for a "Christmas =
miracle"=20
to be a part of each year. Through Kraver, she learned of the Mendez =
situation,=20
and knew she wanted to do something to help. Wilson helped with =
furniture and=20
accessories, and added a few special touches -- she took several pieces =
found in=20
the rubble of the old Mendez home, cleaned them up and used them in the =
new=20
kitchen. </P>
<P>In one old but bright yellow tea kettle, Wilson put a bouquet of =
fresh tulips=20
to signify a new start for Mendez. </P>
<P>"My motto for the new year is in that little kettle," Wilson said. =
"It's a=20
sign of hope and rebirth, and that sometimes God takes us through storms =
and=20
takes care of us." </P></DIV>
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