11/09/04 — Nomadic volunteers help Faison flood victim rebuild

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Nomadic volunteers help Faison flood victim rebuild

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 9, 2004 1:58 PM

FAISON -- Methodist volunteers are in town this week building a house to replace Patricia Moore's home that was damaged in 1999 by Hurricane Floyd.

She has been spending time with her son out of state, said Nelson Davenport, materials director at the MERCI center at Rosewood. MERCI stands for Marion Edwards Recovery Center Initiatives. It is named after the retired bishop of the N.C. United Methodist Conference, a key person in getting the disaster response and recovery effort started in the wake of Floyd.

Davenport said Mrs. Moore's house on Warren Road could be finished around the end of January, but that depends on the availability of volunteers to do the work.

The house had been so badly damaged by a leaking roof that you couldn't walk on the floor in the back half of the house, he said. Volunteers had to tear it down and start over building a new house.

The volunteers started working on it a year ago, but it sat waiting for more volunteers.

MERCI applied to an organization called NOMAD for volunteers to help finish Mrs. Moore's house. NOMAD, based in Sacramento, New Mexico, can mean Nomads on a Mission and Active in Divine Service.

It can also mean "Nice Old Methodists Avoiding Deep Snow," said Ernie Wengler, who was working at the house Monday with his wife, Carolyn, and two other retired couples who volunteer as NOMADs. They work where there's little chance of frost or freezing, he said.

There are about 2,000 NOMADs across the country, he said. They are part of the volunteer missions program of the United Methodist Church, but you don't have to be a Methodist to be a member.

When the word went out that MERCI was looking for volunteers, the NOMAD members signed up.

The organization has 150 projects lined up for this winter across the country, he said. Each project takes three weeks.

"Some of us live at home and pull a trailer," he said. The Wenglers live on a small farm outside Oxford, Ohio. Others sold their homes and travel the country. They all carry their own tools.

"We all come from different work backgrounds," he said. "Almost all are retired."

Wengler is retired as president of a small manufacturing company, and his wife is a stay-at-home mother of six. They have been NOMADs about 10 years, and this is their 27th project.

Another couple working on the house, John and Eileen Myers of Maryland, are on their ninth project. They've been building houses a year and a half. Myers has retired as a supervisor of vocational and career training in the Howard County Public Schools in Maryland, and his wife was a food service director for a company.

The third couple, Tom and Charlotte Gorham of South Dakota, are on their second project. Tom was in the Air Force for a while and retired from Proctor and Gamble. Charlotte was a secretary at Proctor and Gamble.

Those interested in joining the NOMADs can call MERCI for information at 1-888-440-9167.