Navy vol­un­teers help with restora­tion work at KIFA

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Church - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — Over the week­ends of Aug. 18 and Aug. 25, mem­bers of the U.S. Navy Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist Train­ing Unit, out of Ft. Meade, came to Stevensville to lend a hand with needed restora­tion work at the Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts head­quar­ters. Their vol­un­teer­ing was ini­ti­ated by KIFA mem­ber Paul Placek. Placek had writ­ten a let­ter to the U.S.Navy about KIFA’s beed for as­sis­tance. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist Kaylee Perry re­ceived it and replied that they could help. A work de­tail of 20 Navy vol­un­teers was or­ga­nized.

The vol­un­teers ar­rived in vans at 8 a.m. Satur­day, Aug. 18. They were wel­comed by KIFA Pres­i­dent Judy Wol­gast, who had ar­ranged for the vol­un­teers to take a quick walk­ing tour of the his­toric build­ings in down­town Stevensville. The tour was guided by Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Jack Brod­er­ick and Her­itage So­ci­ety mem­bers Nancy Cook and John Con­ley.

The tour be­gan in­side his­toric Christ Church, which is owned by Queen Anne’s County. The Navy vol­un­teers sat in the church pews, as Cook, a long­time pub­lic school teacher and choir di­rec­tor, “or­ches­trated” a very in­ter­est­ing 10-minute his­tory of the Kent Is­land. Cook al­most had the group singing the in­for­ma­tion she was teach­ing them back to her.

She told them, “Here’s Kent Is­land” (point­ing to a map). “Where are we?” she’d ask. “Kent Is­land!” the group replied in uni­son (like a choir). “The Is­land was found by Wil­liam Clai­borne in 1631,” she said. “Who founded the is­land?” and so she con­tin­ued. Cook en­gaged with the com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ists. When she’d ask a ques­tion, she would wave her arms as she would when con­duct­ing a choir.

The three, Brod­er­ick, Cook and Con­ley, then ro­tated groups of six or seven Navy vol­un­teers through Stevensville to the Cray House, the old Stevensville Post Of­fice and for­mer Stevensville Bank. They also vis­ited the Stevensville Train De­pot lo­cated be­hind Cary House. Each group spent about 10 min­utes at each lo­ca­tion.

Com­ing back to KIFA at 9:30 a.m., the vol­un­teers were di­vided into small work groups to tackle sev­eral big projects in­side and the out­side the build­ing. A por­tion of the rear roof had to be re­moved, a la­bor in­ten­sive job that in­volved strip­ing the old shin­gles off and then putting new shin­gles in their place. They also re­moved old wooden sid­ing pan­els that were se­verely wa­ter dam­aged. Those pan­els are being re­placed.

In­side the build­ing, a leak in the roof had caused a por­tion of the ceil­ing plas­ter to col­lapse. The vol­un­teers car­ried sheets of dry wall up­stairs to re­pair the ceil­ing.

Lo­cal car­pen­ter Tom Yates, a long­time KIFA mem­ber and artist, co­or­di­nated the work being done by the vol­un­teers. The repairs could not be com­pleted on just one Satur­day. The group re­turned Satur­day, Aug. 25, to fin­ish the work.

Wol­gast said, “We’re ecstatic to have their help. With Tom Yates to guide, it’s help­ing KIFA to up­grade the house to mod­ern stan­dards (not to men­tion saving KIFA lots in ex­penses).”

One of the mem­bers of the U.S. Navy Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist Pro­gram in­spects the vault door once used in­side the for­mer Stevensville Bank.

U.S. Navy Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist Pro­gram per­son­nel climb to the roof at the Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts build­ing in Stevensville Satur­day morn­ing, Aug. 18. Lo­cal car­pen­ter Tom Yates di­rects repairs from be­low.

PHOTOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Tom Yates, cen­ter, in hat, talks with vol­un­teer work­ers from the U.S. Navy Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pro­gram as they re­move dam­aged shin­gles from a por­tion of the roof at the Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts head­quar­ters in Stevensville and pre­pare to re­place them with new sin­gles, Satur­day, Aug. 18.

“We’re right here, in down­town Stevensville,” said Nancy Cook, for­mer Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety pres­i­dent, as she gave a quick lo­cal his­tory les­son to mem­bers of the U.S. Navy Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist Pro­gram, who vol­un­teered their la­bor to help with repairs at the Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts head­quar­ters.

KI Her­itage So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Jack Brod­er­ick, far right, speaks to mem­bers of the U.S. Navy Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Spe­cial­ist Pro­gram Satur­day, August 18. The Navy spe­cial­ists took a quick walk­ing tour of the his­toric sites in Stevensville and then vol­un­teered their la­bor to help with repairs at the Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts head­quar­ters.

Two of 20 U.S. Navy Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Pro­gram vol­un­teers stack wood needed for repairs at Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts head­quar­ters in Stevensville.

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