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Port Arthur News, TX: Motiva and Shell ‘Rebuilding' damaged SETX homes together

By Ashley Sanders -The News staff writer Posted: 02/11/06 – 09:52:53 pm CST
The refurbished home is one of the first residences in a series expected to receive a little TLC from Southeast Texas very own Rebuilding Together Affiliate.
Speckled with white paint and braving brazen wind gusts, volunteers from Motiva Enterprises LLC and Shell worked feverishly Saturday afternoon to remodel a Port Arthur home wrecked by Rita's wild stop-off in Southeast Texas this past fall.
“Right now I am painting the very first shutter,” Lynn Morris, wife of a Shell employee, said as she spread even coats of Behr blue paint on a primered shutter. “This is just a rewarding job. It is nice to be able to help someone else.”
Working in Friday's rain, the team of 20 or more volunteers rolled up their sleeves once again Saturday to put the finishing touches on the home located just inside the 1700 block of DeQueen Blvd.
The group's next stop – five more homes in the next couple of weekends.
In for the long haul
The new plan to revitalize damaged homes in Southeast Texas is being delivered to the region courtesy of volunteers from Rebuilding Together Houston and with much assistance from Motiva and Shell, as well as various churches and charitable organizations in the area.
“Rebuilding Together Houston is the largest affiliate in the nation,” Randy Henry, co-chairman of the Houston based organization said. “We are down here to help Southeast Texas set up their very own affiliate. And we could not have done this without the generous donation of $100,000 by Shell and Motiva.”
Henry said the Motiva/Shell grant will help in getting the Rebuilding Together operations off the ground in the Golden Triangle.
While Henry admits that Hurricane Rita helped get the ball rolling on the new Rebuilding Together Southeast Texas office, he contends that the organization will make a permanent home in the area.
“Right now we are hoping to rebuild 1,000 homes in this area,” he said. “All repairs are free to the homeowner and they have the final say on what color paint and types of work they need done.”
To qualify for Rebuilding Together repairs and renovation work, Henry said the home's tenant(s) must be the owner(s), the people residing in the home must be elderly or disabled and must be considered as low income.
Currently, Shell and Motiva's $100,000 grant is providing for the start up of the Rebuilding Together Southeast Texas affiliate, as well as for the building materials and supplies needed for the home repairs.
“Shell and Motiva are providing the labor, so all of the money being used here is only going to supplies,” Henry said. “We match the labor requirements with the skills of the volunteer. It truly is amazing, these volunteers save about $6-$8 a person per hour in labor – so all of the money can go to more repairs.”
Henry describes the new Rebuilding Together Southeast Texas chapter as an opportunity to “leave a legacy” in the area.
Agreeing with Henry's sentiments is Debbie Breazeale, community program manager for Shell Oil Company.
“We see this as an opportunity to help our community,” she said. “Motiva plans to stay in this area for a long time in the future and this is our way of giving back.”
Breazeale and other Houston based Shell employees are in the area this weekend and next helping the Motiva employees work on their first Rebuilding Together project.
Current Shell and Motiva employees, spouses, retirees, friends and family are working side by side to repair the predetermined homes.
For more information on Rebuilding Together Southeast Texas or to learn how to help the new affiliate, call 892-0140.

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