The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Shop Class Transforms Cold Rainy School Day Into Heart Warming Experience In Shokokon


by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Ten students with Mr. Robert Frank's West Central High School's Industrial Arts department finished up a long cold rainy day Thursday assisting in The Long Term Recovery program coordinated by co-chairs Karen Cole and Tina Waterman.

According to Jean Timmerman, they were a God-sent.

Jean has been helping her sister Helen Hester, put back together her flooded trailer. Her sister is now renting a place to live in Florida where she is working.

Helen's home in Shokokon has been under a state of repair since the flood of 1985. The 1971 trailer was almost completely redone when a string of bad luck hit Hester's family. Although the trailer was on stilts adequate for a 100 year flood, still 4-5 inches of water came inside during the June flooding this year. It was enough to destroy much of what they had already accomplished.

On top of the flood, Helen's husband died three weeks after the flood with cancer.

The Hesters had moved from Florida in 1994 to Shokokon after they had been struck with a hurricane in Florida in 1985 and a flood at their home in "Shok" that same year. Her husband was a contractor and she is a restaurant worker, Jean said.

"They put her kids in school here, Loresa Hester and Ron Hancock and when Loresa graduated from 8th grade, they moved back to Florida.

All these years, Helen has been working on improvements on this 1971 trailer where she plans to return. Everything was done except the new carpet was to be laid in the front room, then the flood hit again.

Now, sadly, they could not get FEMA's help because Helen was not a permanent resident while renting in Florida, nor qualify for a small business loan.

Jean, has been overseeing the project for her sister.

"We had a lot to throw away," she said. "We've had six different church volunteers one afternoon. Ron the Pepsi man came one afternoon to help, and other than that, it has been family."

Jean's son, Corey Timmerman experienced in construction, plumbing, and electrical, volunteered with his mother to help his Aunt Helen.

Another nephew, Roger Farquhar of Dallas City who is an engineer and travels internationally, took time to volunteer his help.

Jean said I had to cut out all the paneling and will try to match it back up. "Everything needs carpeting, and the hardwood floor base needs to be taken out and replaced," she said.

Jean said of the fact the students and their teacher from West Central came to insulate and put a base floor underneath the trailer: ""These guys were an answer to prayers!"

Now to have the electrical and plumbing and insulation and floor done, is a big thing before winter. The minor things we can work around.

Drywall in the kitchen has to be done and the kitchen cabinets put back up, but Tina Waterman who works for the Salvation Army and Long Term Recovery in Gladstone, said the drywall is going to be paid by Convey of Hope out of Springfield, MO.

The boys also did weather stripping for Peggy Ragain of Shokokon around doors and other items.

The insulation for Thursday's project was paid for by The Salvation Army and the wood was paid for by the Presbyterian Disaster Response Fund, coordinated through Tina Waterman Salvation Army.

The work was done by West Central Industrial Arts teacher, Mr. Robert "Doc" Frank and ten of his students: Drue Waterman, Jacob Waterman, Ben Hawk, Andrew Pregel, Alex Olson, Dylan Kaczinski, Justin Allaman, Spencer Torrance, Cody Druin, and Eric Adams.

The LONG TERM RECOVERY is co-chaired by Karen Cole and Tina Waterman with Brian Cochran volunteer coordinator, Chris Royer Treasurer, and Shirley Martinez, Secretary. To contact them please call 309-627-9354.