Today marks two weeks since we were activated by the state of Alabama to support the efforts with the BP oil spill. Our role as the National Guard has been to assist with the BP claims. Our mission is called Task Force Alabama Claims Assistance Teams or TF ACAT. (We have all kinds of cat jokes floating around). Our 200 person group has been housed in Baldwin County at a coliseum. Most of the soldiers sleep in cots in an open area and each day are deployed into different communities of Baldwin and Mobile counties to distribute information about the BP claims process or assist with assembling claims packets. Who knew that a massive oil leak would create a need for this kind of assistance?
Being in Gulf Shores has created challenges for my training for the ride-mainly getting time. My rides have been just before dark or early on Sunday mornings. Besides the numerous amount of small bugs that make breathing a challenge-it hasn’t been too bad. Unfortunately I am not being challenged by hills which I believe is going to have its affect. But, we’ll see. Sunday I am riding 50 miles just so I know that I will be ok on the following Friday.
I am excited about the riders! We have such a great group of people going with us-all very mission minded and servant hearted. I will be doing my best to try and keep up. There are only two girls really riding so it will be fun J
Being in Baldwin County and listening to employees of businesses discuss their fear and frustration has helped me stay connected with what is happening here. Although we do not repair homes in this area, the situations that are occurring sometimes become the initial scenarios that strap people financially and keep them from being able to repair their homes.
We are all diligently raising our support and working to raise our $1200. These proceeds will go to help us serve more families. Some of our goals for the fall include opening a thrift store for building supply materials and possibly becoming a partner with a program called Circles. We have some huge hurdles ahead of us but looking forward to the incredible challenge!
Finally, my ride last Sunday went very well. The distance from Robertsdale to Point Clear and back was 40 miles. Most of it was flat with some small hills. Getting to Point Clear and riding along the Gulf was inspiring and really beautiful. The coastline has rows of quaint and cute cottages most of which are summer or rental homes. Parks were frequent for boat launches and picnics. Much of the land was crop land with a few deep, green, plush horse pastures dotting the landscape. I expected an intense sun but high clouds diffused some of the heat. Without hills I was able to ride fast and was finished in about 3 hours. I know that will not be the case with the actual ride.
Just one week away and I’m ready to ride!