Letters to the editor for March 6, 2013

By Observer Upload March 07, 2013 07:49 am


Kudos to Riverbend for a job well done

To the editor

On Feb. 13, Carmen Gentry provided an excellent letter to the editor thanking  the youth of Riverbend for providing services to the food bank and senior center here in La Grande. 

I, too, wish to thank the youth of Riverbend for building a storage shed for the family of Mrs. Pauline Linde, the 2012 Grande Ronde Valley Habitat for Humanity home recipient.  

Habitat provides a shed for the families that receive homes to store toys, lawn furniture, mower, etc. At the Linde home, a 12-foot by 16-foot concrete pad with a falling down shed provided just what Habitat needed. Harold Kauffman of Kauffman Brothers made short, safe work of the shed and completely filled a 40-yard trash bin. The pad was ready to receive a bigger than normal Habitat shed (we normally provide a portable 8-foot by 10-foot shed with a wooden floor). 

In the dead of winter and around Christmas time, volunteers are hard to find to work outside. By pure luck, Mitch Posey, the vocational coordinator for the Oregon Youth Authority at Riverbend, called and asked if there was a home to build, to which I said “no,” but there was a smaller project that needed volunteer labor. He jumped at the chance to expose the young men to building the shed. Over the next few weeks, five to seven youth worked in unbelievable weather conditions to build the walls, sheath, side and shingle the shed.  

Mr. Posey said this kind of project is exactly the kind of effort needed to help youth learn skills that will help them transition to adulthood. As a board member of Habitat, I can say this shed would not have been built this winter without the help of Riverbend. All I had to do is keep materials in front of them and buy coffee and donuts once in a while.

If Habitat and the Youth Authority can work out a few details, we hope to use the Riverbend crew on the next recipient of a full-sized home this coming summer. That project would provide much more training about all aspects of building a residence. To quote Ms. Gentry, “These kids have come a long way and we appreciate them giving back to the community.” And Habitat appreciates Mr. Posey’s efforts to expose the youth to a new vocation.

Larry Knowles

Board member, Grande Ronde Valley Habitat for Humanity,

Island City