By DAVID KRIER
For Vince Ramsden and the other two dozen Volunteers in Mission rebuilding Misty Molzof’s flood-ravaged Boscobel home this week, it’s about giving back to the community and serving their faith.
“It’s about the fellowship of working together for a worthwhile purpose,” says Ramsden. “Obviously, other people feel the same way,” he adds, as fellow volunteers move about busily scraping, painting, sawing and drywalling.
This is Ramsden’s 102nd project with Volunteers in Mission (VIM), a United Methodist Church Wisconsin Conference Committee devoted to disaster response, housing projects and rehabilitation. The group arrived in Boscobel Monday and will work through the week rebuilding Molzof’s Wisconsin Avenue home.
“We’re generally rebuilding after disasters,” says Ramsden, who has done just that in places like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and states from Montana to Maine. “It’s my mission to find places that need teams, mainly out of state.”
But the need was great just miles from his rural Highland home. A scouting team arrived in Boscobel last week to survey the situation and confer with city officials.
“This house was selected by our case worker, Laura Markley, because of the volume of work that needed to be done,” says Ramsden.
According to the VIM description of the project, that work includes “…rebuilding a large 3 bedroom, two-bath house for a single mom and her two children, displaced by the flood. The water level was up into the first floor, which will require partial sheet rocking of walls and new floors and trim work. There will also be mudding and painting needed.”
Work began Monday and could be completed by the end of the week. The crew consists of people from throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, and even a gentleman from Texas. Most are retired, like Ramsden, who at 77 years old has been volunteering with VIM for the past 27 years.
Others have taken time out from their regular jobs, like the painter from Milwaukee and the contractor from Fond du Lac. All are paying $125 for a week of hard labor, sleeping on the United Methodist Church floor and showering at the city’s outdoor swimming pool.
“We pay money and work for nothing, so everyone here is donating toward this project,” says Ramsden. “Everyone here is donating $15 a day for materials plus a donation to the church for utility costs they normally wouldn’t have.”
But there’s a difference with this project when compared to others.
“I’ve been on 102 missions and I’ve never been anywhere where the church cooked our evening meals,” says Ramsden.
Others in the group have also noticed the Boscobel difference.
“Boscobel has just embraced us,” says Tom Andrews of Sauk Prairie. “The town and everyone here has just been so hospitable. It’s fantastic.”
“Usually we pay for our own food, but this has been great,” adds his friend John Budd.
It’s also been great for Molzof. With no flood insurance and government aid weeks or months away—if at all—this group of volunteers has been a godsend.
“They called and said ‘We’re coming next week; get your materials together,’” Molzof relates. “Materials? With what? But somehow you find a way. It’s such a blessing to have groups like this. It makes you wonder about those kids who go on mission trips and how hard they must work.”