It was one of those very interesting days, here on the corner of Washington and Lawrence streets in down town Charles Town. As scheduled, our conference room was filled with the smells of healthy food cooking as well as the sights and sounds of the “Cooking with Docs” team from WVU School of Medicine who are responsible for the sights, sounds and smells. The watchers are treated to tastes and later an entire lunch will be prepared for those who come for our regular weekend Safe Space Drop-in Center. In this lunch, our “docs” are joined by members of St. Paul Baptist Church; those who do drop in, are grateful for both the good meal and the good company.
While this was going on in our conference room, we were “draining our swamp.” Not really a swamp, of course, but on Thursday morning, May 17th, we discovered that our basement storage area had become a foot-deep wading pool. During Thursday, the use of two small, very hardworking, pumps kept the tide from rising (too much) until a larger gasoline powered pump could arrive on the scene. Gasoline pump arrived about 7:30pm and by about 8:15 it began pouring out water at a rate of 35 gallons per minute…and was still pouring out water at that rate Friday morning and for the rest of that day. Late Friday afternoon, it began to look like we were in control. Unfortunately, through a combination of a less than effective sump pump and more rain during the night, Saturday morning saw us with a still substantial body of basement water.
While the docs cooked, the pump continued to pump. Now, the docs have gone, our Safe Space has closed for the day and the pump continues on its way to 45 hours. James Hite, the owner and operator of the pump, has been our hero and he has been ably supported by our own Chester Sixma. Chester, when he is not watching over pumps, spends time with the Kiwanis K-Kids teaching them how to play chess. Thanks to you both; we are grateful.
I am sure more things happened today than just this, wet and bedraggled folks caught living without shelter in this weather, mural squares created for the big mural project in Charles Town later this month were hung for display in our front windows, a large box of bananas were dropped off following a race elsewhere in the community.
And, the pump keeps pumping and good and kind-hearted neighbors step up to help other neighbors…does it get any better than this?
May 24th Progress Report
The new sump pump was fully installed by 10pm last night and began pumping along with the gasoline powered pump what had been working virtually non-stop for a week. About 3am, the gas pump was stopped leaving the new pump to carry on by itself. This morning found the floor mostly free of standing water…until James went into the old furnace room. There he found another water source in the old sump pump area in that room. He started the gas pump and drained that within a couple of hours. It may well be that we are well on our way to beginning cleanup. We are finding sources of water, in small amounts, coming in through parts of the walls and James will continue to look for those.