Florence Green sat on the porch of her home content despite the sounds of hammers, saws and drills. Several students wearing Bounce nail aprons and bandannas flooded her yard and were busy building a wheelchair ramp. They carefully measured, sawed and nailed pieces of wood as Ms. Florence’s two small dogs scampered around the students’ feet.
Ms. Florence has lived in her home off of Thompson Street for 57 years. Her parents had built the small box home when she was a girl, and so the home has significant sentimental value to her. Now, Ms. Florence lives in the home with her daughter and her two small dogs, whom she calls “her babies.” During Hurricane Harvey, her home was flooded with over two feet of water which damaged her floor and the bottom half of her walls. The rain also severely damaged her roof. Because of Ms. Florence’s disability, she has been unable to repair her home on her own. Out of options, Ms. Florence was left with no other choice but to continue living in her home though the flood had left it in a condition that was barely livable.
While a group of Bounce students were hard at work in the front yard, another group was inside Ms. Florence’s home tearing out and installing new sheetrock. There was a large hole a foot away from the front door and what was left of Ms. Florence’s furniture was stacked into two rooms on the right and was visible through the holes in the wall where damaged sheetrock had been torn away. Bounce volunteers measured sheetrock around the exposed pipes in the kitchen where Ms. Florence’s counters used to be.
In the backyard another group of Bounce students and volunteers took turns climbing up and down a single ladder and onto Ms. Florence’s roof. Some students were nailing shingles, while other students were picking up scraps of old shingles that were being thrown to the ground. Bounce volunteer, Payton, had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Florence about her story. He asked her if she knew Christ. Ms. Florence told Payton that she had become a Christ follower in 1981 after attending church with a good friend. She explained that she had lived a rebellious life up until that point, but once she learned who Jesus was and what he had done for her on the cross, she decided to submit her life to Christ. Now, Ms. Florence not only has her daughter living with her and helping her during this time of need, but she also has a group of students, her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who are joyfully giving up a week of their summer to repair the damages on Ms. Florence’s home.
Reese, a student from West University Baptist and Crosspoint Church, confessed that it was hard working such long hours on Ms. Florence’s roof. This was her first time doing construction work of any kind and she was not expecting it to be this exhausting. Her group had stayed to work on Ms. Florence’s roof until 5pm the day before, even though the other groups had headed back to South Main Baptist Church at 4pm for a hot shower before dinner. When asked why her group would choose to stay late,r she responded that they didn’t want to leave any work undone, because this was Ms. Florence’s home, and they wanted her to have a strong and sturdy roof to sleep under after they were gone. The Bounce students understand that the work they are doing on Ms. Florence’s home will have a long term and deeply personal impact on Ms. Florence’s life. Students are willing to put in the hard work in the humid Houston summer, because they love Ms. Florence. She is apart of their family in Christ, and this is what families do for one another.