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Skinner's hands (not DU's skinner) [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU
noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:46 PM
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Skinner's hands (not DU's skinner)
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This is the hand of a NOLA volunteer:


He's been working since the fall, for free, in exchange for food and a place to put his tent. He headed back home this week for a wedding and to spend time with his family, but he's returning again in October. Sometimes when the relief team quits for the day and returns to camp, instead of taking a break like the rest of us, he heads out and helps other people around town with their houses, or with chores. After work the last day I was in Slidell, while I was drinking a guinness and surfing the internet, he was across the street burning a pile of pine needles he had raked up for one of the neighbors.

He took a group of us out to see the national cemetery in Chalmette. When we parked, we saw the portajohn at the entrance had been knocked over. He walked over and righted it, not because he was responsible for knocking it over or because it was his job, but because he saw something that needed fixing, so he fixed it. That's what he does.

He doesn't own any heavy equipment. He doesn't even own a car. I don't know if he has a home; I've only seen him living in a tent. But when a man in town mentioned that the storm had moved his house 7 inches off the foundation, Skinner fixed it for free. He used scavenged fence posts that he cut up to make bearings, some railroad ties, plywood, and a few borrowed hydraulic jacks. When I was there last week, he was mucking and gutting houses for retired people with no insurance, in minority neighborhoods, hauling out fridges that were spilling forth some of the foulest substances known to man, knocking out black mold covered drywall, wading through piles of garbage in his sneakers, so people could move back into their homes. When he removed his Tyvek suit to cool off during water breaks, he had to find something to cover an open wound that wasn't healing on his leg, so gnats wouldn't swarm around it. I don't know if he has health insurance. When the break was over, he'd suit back up and go into the mold and filth for more.

Skinner has the most beautiful hands.
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