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Louise and Richard Machen. God bless them. It is their
yard which has turned into a emergency camp for 60. They are
the couple who responded to God's call to help those in
need down here.
My tent in blue and gold, second from left.
The Hilltop Rescue and Relief (HRR) activities have a
very interesting start. As I understand it, Robert
Machen from the Churches of Christ in California
conceived HRR as a non-profit organization to handle future
California earthquake rescue efforts. Then along came
hurricane Katrina and destroyed Roberts old neighborhood
of Slidell, LA. His folks Richard and Louise offered
to use the land surrounding their house as a base camp
for volunteers. Word quickly got around, especially
via the internet web site, attracting many volunteers
If you are interested in volunteering, go to the web page
above and fill out the form, or contact me.
The map to Hilltop is shown here - the circled area is
the Machen's property now turned into a volunteer camp!
Hilltop Rescue and Relief is located at:
301 Gause Rd. (US-190)
Slidell, LA 70460
Field Volunteers - Daily Schedule
7:00 - 7:45 am: Wake up, eat breakfast
7:45 - 8:00 am: Morning reflection, work review
8:00 - 8:15 am: Load and go
8:15 - 12:00 pm: Field work
12:00 - 1:00 pm: Lunch in field
1:00 - 5:00 pm: Field work
5:00 - 6:00 pm: Return to Op Center, clean-up
6:00 - 7:00 pm: Dinner
7:00 - 7:30 pm: Evening meeting, review, reflection
Volunteers need to bring: work gloves, rubber gloves,
R95 minimum face masks, rubber boots for mucking
and/or steel toe boots for tree removal, dew rags, safety glasses,
camera, note paper & pencil.
Meals are provided as well as washers and driers
for laundry. You will be put up in either a tent
camper, or other vehicle available. You may end up
sharing space with others. I have a 10x10 tent to
myself, which is nice. The camp can handle up to
60 volunteers at one time.
Teams in field are divided into house mucking or
tree removal. Mucking involves removal of destroyed
furniture, cabinets, dry wall, appliances, carpet,
flooring. Debris is moved to street side. Muck, the
mud and water, is removed with shovels and brooms.
Clorox and water (50/50) is used as a cleaner.
Mucking mostly done in Slidell, but now seeing more
work coming from New Orleans. In some homes the water
level reached fifteen feet. One two story house had
two feet of water in the attic. The work is hard
and includes a lot of lifting, but it is extremely
There are also volunteer opportunities in supporting
field activities including cooking, laundry, etc.
The camp is pretty much self sufficient with
a shop, mess hall, fork lifts, cat, trailers,
kitchen/cooks, laundry, showers and heads. Much of
the plumbing, electrical, buildings and roads have
been done by the volunteers.
41 volunteers in camp at present. Many have interesting
stories; students, psychatrist here from Maine on
his motorcycle, church group from Virginia, folks
from NY, NJ, OH, TN, MN, LA, FL, and many more.
Friendships are made very quickly here. There is a
lot of joy and comaraderie amongst the volunteers.
Becky on her last day. No Becky, say it ain't so!
Anita and Denise chowing down. Corky and family in
And my personal favorite, on the right in bald, Doc.
Doc is a psychatrist who drove all the way down from
Maine on a motorcycle enroute to Costa Rica. He has
established himself as the world's foremost authority
on the repair of chain saws! Nick watches on.
A close second is Vicki Green, our volunteer
coordinator, statistician, organizer, administrator,
and empathizer. God bless you Vicki!
In a tie for second is Corky, our task master,
boss, drill sergeant, and good friend. He works
long, hard hours doing just about everything including
making the decisions on which houses to muck, which
trees to cut, and which victims need support and
help. God bless you and your family Corky!
In another tie for second is Jesse, left, a great, hard-
working guy from northern Mississippi, who has
spent alot of time helping out down here. Took
me an hour to crack Jesse's accent! Jesse is standing
with George Rios and local guy who has also helped
Richard Machen, home owner, center, checking out
the new warehouse built to house furniture and
appliances when rebuilding starts. Bart, on right,
did alot of work in the warehouse.
Thom and I cut a few boards together! Thom had
a group of 18 folks down from Virginia. Clayton is
on the right while Rodney and Bart are in the rear.
Rather elaborate entrance to mess hall. Note the
unique flag holder and stained glass windows!
We had to clear an area to add drainage where the
semis will pull into the warehouse area. Note the
Bobcats in use; we had several and used them all
the time both in camp and in the field
Jason maneuvers the Cat around like a toy truck
A lot of volunteers live in donated or loaned
campers or RVs.
This shop is dedicated to chain saw repair and
sharpening. This is "Doc's Shop".
Anyone for a bite to eat?
Load & go! Shovels, rakes, brooms, you name it...
We loaded our trailer up for my first day mucking.
Fred helping hitch up to the loaned conversion van!
Richard Machen on right with two volunteers, Thom, left
and Tipper, rear, loading up for the day's work.
Work can be fun! Katie on the left and Stephanie on
the right are sisters. Erica is in the middle.
Wonderful and hard working gals!
Good looking guy (Mark) with chain saw,
eat your hearts out gals!
Jesse and I became good friends.
Jesse is the one with the Northern Mississippi
accent. A very fine man with a good sense of
"Big John" carved this monster bench from a
single trunk with his chain saw over a few
lunch breaks in camp! The tree was 100 years old.
Roger and Julie made a powerful husband and wife