Randy said so well what I had thought and my impressions of our group. As Tom said we are drawn together with two common bonds, our profession and our desire to help. With that commonality we seemed to meld from the first meeting and grow in our enjoyment of our mission and each other. I too liked the mix of the Seasoned with energy of the Young. I know that Walter said that the team make up was very successful in helping his clients.
Now if I can talk about me for a moment. Sunday when I went to church the sermon was the Parable about the use of Talents. Of course in Biblical times the talents referenced were coins. In our time that translates easily to our talents and abilities given to us. As I listened my mind went back to the wonderful people we met and tried to help. How they never complained about their situation, never asked what can you give me, only can you help me as I try to improve myself. Then I thought of the town of Houma who was physically and mentally recovering from the likes of Gustavo and Ike. And how accommodating the people were to us. And then I thought of the young man who drove the hotel van to the airport. And how he shared with me the horrors he went through to leave New Orleans and drive all night in his tired and worn mind to Houston only to pass by it and end up 2 hours away in Texas City, Texas. That is where he stopped and placed his family. I asked if he used the Red Cross and similar services. He said he did not as the lines were 1500-2000 people long and how he could not stand in line hours on end, he needed to find a job instead to support his family. Three months later he came back home. Never once was he complaining. And then, in closing the service, we sang a song called “Here I am Lord” which is about surrendering to the call to help those in need and serve the Lord. My friends, I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried in my adult life. I stood there in church and I cried. To have had the opportunity to serve my neighbor in need, to have served with my fellow professionals, and to have done so with such joy and fun is an event I will never forget.
Thanks to all of you, thanks to Tom, thanks to Walter and Rita and Operation Hope and thanks to my fellow workers, I have walked away a better man. And Yes I would go back tomorrow if I could.
You are a special group and I will never forget you.