by Quinton Clay
March 8, 2006 – Today our group of 10 completed our first task. Affectionately dubbing ourselves the “Top This” roofing company, I found irony in the selfless spirits and the professional work ethic.
Led by Jon Oswood, the six woman and three man crew successfully stripped, tarred and shingled the roof for an 81-year-old woman named Aida, who has lived in Mississippi since 1976. Aida and her son, Walter, were caught in their Biloxi home during Hurricane Katrina. Walter put his mother in the attic of their one-story home as the water rose. He later joined her, equipped with a hammer and a crow bar in case he needed to break through the roof to escape.
I was glad to see the pride and dedication of my group – Jon and Carter Oswood, Gayle Dunlap, Clayton Niewoehner, Kyle Scheer, Haley Pins, Cara Cavanaugh, Katie Elliott Stephanie Beecher and me. After swiftly progressing during a challenging day one, members of the group immediately expressed interest in staying with our project from start to finish.
I truly believe that each of us was touched by the thankfulness and appreciation shown by Aida and Walter.
Quinton Clay is a Coe College admission counselor.