Volunteer Spotlight: Francis in Coastal Bend
“I’m no carpenter” – How one volunteer learned new skills and made an impact in South Texas.
“I’m thankful for all the great friends I’ve made along this journey.”
Francis Rosa, now a long term volunteer from New Hampshire, USA, came to the Coastal Bend program in September with no idea of what to expect and no prior construction knowledge. He wasn’t sure how he was going to help, but he was ready to learn and be a part of someone’s journey towards recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
Francis recently graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts where he majored in Creative Writing and American Studies. He is a self-published author having written a children’s book with his twin brother when they were 17. “My dream is to be a writer, to be able to write short stories and novels and even make some sort of living doing it. Or far more importantly, be able to inspire, teach, and entertain others with my fiction.”
He’s dealt with much loss throughout his life, losing two of his older brothers and others to accidental overdoses. To help those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, Francis’ family started a nonprofit called “Chucky’s Fight.” Through this organization they’ve been able to help hundreds of people along their recovery journey.
On project, Francis didn’t know what he could bring to the table, but he came with willing hands and a willing heart.
“I go through each day with a constant feeling of wanting to help people, and just feeling so inadequate sometimes because I’ve never done any carpentry at all. So when I get to use a miter saw that is crazy for me, and to be able to help people is really amazing.
There are days that can be admittedly exhausting and, being that I am no carpenter, are also extremely frustrating when bunched up with the daily stresses of life. But all that goes away, and seems like a pale shadow of a problem, when compared to what the homeowners are going through.
When someone you are helping asks you to join them in prayer, hands you a meal, tells you about their own daily struggles, or breaks down in tears in front of you, moments like these can’t help but change you as a person and change your own perspective on what really matters in life. All those things you stressed out about, and worried over suddenly seem quite shallow and foolish in reality.
I think that is what volunteering does to people, brings a sense of clarity to people’s lives.”
On program, Francis has been able to develop great relationships with others, he’s become an important member of our family here in Coastal Bend. He’s always the first to volunteer to help out on base, he’s quick to make people feel welcomed. On site, give him a project or direction and he’ll work hard to complete the task. He brings a quiet positive energy with him and is there to support others on his team. One of our Site Supervisors, James calls Francis a one of a kind guy, someone whom he appreciates and admires greatly.
Even without “skill” Francis came, and greatly impacted the lives of those around him. You too can join our efforts. Apply to volunteer, donate, share the stories of All Hands and Hearts with others, take action. Together, you, me, Francis, and everyone else can help more families get back their homes after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.