Jaywalker Service Trip: Houston #2
How many of us can say we have battled and beaten stage 4 cancer? How many of us can say we’ve served this country as a career Marine, spending time on foreign bases far and wide? How many can say they’ve witnessed the oblivion of all they own, thier home destroyed, thier family uprooted, thier way of life shattered in a flood of wind and water known as Harvey. How many can say they’ve stood tall despite all that life has thrown at them, unbowed to the blasts of calamity. We of Solutions had the honor of helping Mr. Gutierrez and his family return to thier home after months of living uprooted. He was with us on the job sight daily, sharing his story, his resolve, his heartfelt gratitude for the work we were doing to bring his family home. He exemplified to all of us what it is to be proud yet humble, strong yet accepting, focused yet open. He was loyal to the creed of resilience, never giving up. Semper fidelis Mr. Gutierrez. It is we who are grateful to you. What a lesson you shared with the men of Solutions. To never give up, no matter what, never give up. May it serve us well.
1. While in Houston, we helped the Gutierrez family. They lived out in Northeast Houston, in an area that is not the best. At the peak of the flooding, they had five feet of water in their house. The husband had gone through many trials in his life including; being a Marine, battling cancer and dealing with the death of a son. Harvey was another struggle for him to fight. He was at the job site every day to see how the progress was coming along.
For me it was great to be a part of this since it was my city that was devastated by the Hurricane Harvey. I had not been able to help in any way before since I went straight to primary right after the storm cleared up. Being a part of the rebuilding process made it so much more real, not only that the hurricane happened, but that it affected the lives of so many people while I had been sitting comfy in my apartment playing video games, drinking and doing drugs. As well, it made me grateful for everything I have had and do have, being that I have had a great life with not many struggles other than school or work.
2. The Houston trip was one of the coolest experiences of my life. It’s cool to have a perspective change since being clean from a self-centered view to actually wanting to help people. Getting to learn the history of Mr. Gutierrez of a Marine veteran to cancer survivor to hurricane survivor made the service work even more rewarding. This also helped me realize that everyone is recovering from something. During the trip I wasn’t very focused on myself because I wanted to do the best I could to get this family in their home sooner. And by not focusing on myself it helped me realize what type of person I am at my core. Overall the trip was an amazing experience that I would 100% do again!
3. I don’t know if I necessarily found myself while doing service, but I certainly lost myself. I realized that I wasn’t in my head at all while at the work site. My mind was solely on the task at hand, how to perfect it, and what I needed to do next. It was very refreshing to not have the usual noise running through my head and this was one the longest reprieves from that that I’d had in years.
I learned that I really enjoy working with my hands and working hard. A lot of this might have to do with the way it helps me to escape my thoughts. I also am very quick to criticize myself for not working hard enough or not doing enough and I carry this worry with me throughout the day. I guess when doing manual labor for a deserving family for 8 hours, it’s easier for me to acknowledge that I’ve done all I can do that day and thus can be at peace for the rest of the evening.
It felt great to help the Gutierrez family and it was mind-blowing to have a better understanding of just how severe the damage from Hurricane Harvey was. However, it was interesting how quickly my ego overrode the importance of serving the Gutierrez’s. Rather than taking into account all the good I was doing, I was often preoccupied with wanting to be the hardest worker, the most skilled, or the one who had accomplished the most. Although the results were positive for the family I found it funny how much I made things about me.