School Officials Renovate Houses For Ongoing Katrina Relief Effort

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UNION COUNTY — Three Union County school business administrators (BAs) were among eleven volunteers who traveled to New Orleans to join the Operation Helping Hands (OHH) relief effort for Hurricane Katrina victims. Springfield Public Schools BA Matthew Clarke and Scotch Plains-Fanwood Regional District BA Anthony Del Sordi joined Hillside School District BA Ken Weinheimer, who for the past three years has coordinated the annual trip.

Amidst good news about New Orleans’ revitalization, there is still grim evidence of the damage in areas that bore the brunt of the storm and flooding.  Operation Helping Hands recruits volunteers to rebuild and paint homes for elderly and disabled storm victims.

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Weinheimer, Clarke and Del Sordi, active members of the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO), paid all of their own expenses for the trip, which took place during a school break.  The eleven NJASBO volunteers worked on a house in its beginning stages by eliminating mold, hanging doors and repairing sub-flooring. At a second house, the crew sanded, spackled, painted, and laid ceramic and laminate flooring.

“I personally thank our members for contributing their time and talents to such a worthwhile cause. Their contributions have made a difference in the lives of so many people that lost so much as a result of this unfortunate natural catastrophe. My hat is off to them all,” said John Donahue, NJASBO’s executive director.

“Volunteers are very gracious with their time, money and skills when they come down to help out. Ken’s group had skills that were especially useful to the organization in rebuilding and repainting homes,” said Bethany Billman, volunteer coordinator for OHH.

From left, BAs Anthony DelSordi and Matthew Clarke join homeowner Melvin Franklin and associate member Pete Campisano in renovating homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina through Operation Helping Hands, a rebuilding program operated by the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.

From left, BAs Ken Weinheimer and Matthew Clarke, associate member Greg Thompson and BA Anthony DelSordi have a chance to meet with New Orleans homeowner Alice Crenshaw (center) as they work to renovate her home.


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