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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 07:46 PM
Original message
Skinner's hands (not DU's skinner)
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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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Recommended- no comment necessary.
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Viva_La_Revolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. ditto!
I was sitting here trying to think of a comment worthy of this man.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. Tell Skinner hi!
Edited on Mon Jul-10-06 08:09 PM by uppityperson
Are you working there? BLRC? Nice pictures of him. I know of a couple of him working on a roof, but they show his face. Skinner is, well, Skinner and we love him. He works very hard all the time. I don't think he drives, has no car, is just there working and working. Good pictures! Take care Skinner.

Edited, forgot to ask, what are you up to there?
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. I was there last week
and came back yesterday. I wish I could have changed plans and stayed longer, but I was down there with a few of my students mucking and gutting, and had to get them back to their parents at the end of the week.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Hard to come home, isn't it.
Driving home from airport and noticing the lack of debris, and the fact that everyone had their doors closed and it was ok, rather than checking out progress of mucking and gutting. I want to go back but the temperature gets me. Maybe this fall if BLRC is still up and going.
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bluerum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. memo to * : helping people is hard work.
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Bretttido Donating Member (754 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
5. Great guy, he should get his hands checked out though
Some of those scars look very prone to infections that could cause him to lose his hand. I hope they're in better shape now.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. That's what I thought, too.
He really needs to get to a doctor and to put antibiotic ointment on them every night. I still have scars on my ankles from helping build a school in the Dominican, and they really hurt for a long time until they healed.

He's truly an angel, though. Doing all that work for free. May he be truly blessed and healed of all his scars and wounds.
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survivor999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #5
17. I agree regarding the infection potential...
Besides, there is no shame in wearing protective gloves when doing hard work with your hands... Actually, probably one can work better with protective gloves... Am I missing something here?
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. Nope, just this is Skinner. People are looking out for him
but he is an adult who works very hard. And he does wear gloves. He just works really really really hard. People are watching out over him.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. We wear gloves there
and he was on the case of one person who was going in without a respirator. The problem is that the work gloves aren't waterproof, and if you wear the hospital gloves underneath, they fill with sweat in the first half hour, and your hands get all pruny like you've been in the bathtub for hours - I took mine off after about two hours and just went with the work gloves because I was afraid of damaging my skin badly if I tried to wear them a full day.
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Turn CO Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #23
36. I was going to write that
those kind of calluses appear similar to what some bodybuilders get -- a form of "athlete's foot" on the hands. A fungal infection. It causes extra high and large calluses and that "flaky" look to the callous skin, which is uncomfortably dried out and never seems to heal.

It could be worth a try to get him some Lotrimin (or some other anti-fungal).

Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with Skinner. Thank you for posting this!
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. He's better at taking care of other people
than he is at taking care of himself. I'm hoping that when he's around his family in Oregon, someone will drag him into the doctor's office to get his hands checked out. At least maybe they'll have time to heal before he returns.
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Up2Late Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
30. That's what I was thinking too, he should see a doctor...
...I had my share of blisters and callouses, and my hands never looked like that.
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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
6. A Man Truly Following in the Footsteps of Jesus
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mikelewis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #6
31. Amen
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:15 PM
Response to Original message
9. Volunteers are needed NOW!
If anyone has time to come/go help, please do so or consider it. Thanks.

lwfersn, I did a quick search and found your posting about being with VFP in Slidell (Bayou Liberty?). Did you post anything else here since you returned? Thanks for going and helping. And another kick for Skinner.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I've got the gulf march posts in my DU journal
There are a few of them.

Bayou Liberty Relief is being managed both by Niki and by the Iraq Veterans Against the War at the moment. Some people here might know Kelly, Joe, and Ethan from the IVAW. They're all down there now. They'd be thrilled to have more volunteers, even if it's just short term, during the summer. Our team was up to 14 or 15 people some days while I was there, so we were able to muck a house in about 5 or 6 hours working together. But Skinner, myself and the three people I went with all left over the weekend. And there was one other woman and her friend who were volunteering because BLRC had fixed her mother's house back when she couldn't get away to help, so she was paying them back with labor for other people. I'm not sure if those two were just there for the week or if they were staying longer. The crew might be down to 8 or less now. It's a lot more uplifting to do the work when there are enough hands that you see clear progress over the course of a day.

If anyone here is local, you could probably volunteer for just a morning or occasional Saturdays (they're working 6 days a week) and they'd be happy to see you.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Here's a link to the camp's website
http://bayoulibertyrelief.org /
The camp is open to volunteers working anywhere, not just on camp run projects. If you have a project that is good. If you don't have one, they have some going and can steer you in the right direction to work. The camp is also set up to give burnt out volunteers from other places and camps a 3 day (weekend, as it were) retreat, go and hang out, be quiet, canoe in the bayou, and return to work rejuvinated and refreshed. A necessity to keep volunteers sane and healthy.

Looking back I see where we wrote awhile back lwfern, glad you made it back down there.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
11. Skinner has beautiful hands
and his soul must be breathtaking!

A truly good human being. :loveya: Skinner

This makes me feel so good and so sad and so guilty for doing no more than I have.

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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. He is an exceptional person
HUGE heart, gives and gets so much love.
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
14. Such dedication! I so admire people who
give of their time so freely to help others.
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5X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. This is the type of post that should be at the top of the greatest page...
and should get there quickly.

Much better than 'sloganeering'.

K & R.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
18. Words can't describe ........his beautiful work hands.
Thanks for sharing that. Seeing things that need fixing and just doing it...

A place for him with the angels...
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:26 PM
Response to Original message
19. That should be the cover of Time Magazine IMHO
:kick:
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:27 PM
Response to Original message
20. Damn Skinner! Don't kill yourself dude! You can work a good horse to
death you know!
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wicket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
24. Bless him
Edited on Mon Jul-10-06 09:37 PM by wicket
O8)
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
25. What else does Skinner do? (sorry picts are blurry)
Edited on Mon Jul-10-06 09:52 PM by uppityperson

Eats breakfast (on left with beard)


Puts up insulation in a home (back to camera) in

this neighborhood:



to help make the home look less like this

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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. The relief camp's chainsaw broke
no more chainsawing for them. Skinner was bummed about that, I got the sense he liked the chainsaw. He was talking about sawing up some of the big trees that were down and taking them to a mill whose owner he had done some favors for, and having it cut into free planks they could use for rebuilding. The third picture reminded me of that.

(That's him with the beard and no shirt in the first photo, for the benefit of those who don't know him.)


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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
27. Wow. Just Wow!
Now, this is a real honest-to-goodness humanitarian. I'm speechless right now.

Highly respect this man named Skinner! Wow... He's earned my utmost respect. Won't see one of the Repuks up my way doing this - now way, no how.
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intheflow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
28. What a unique perspective, lwfern.
Beautiful photography, as usual. And a beautiful posting, too. Blessed are the hands of the relief workers!

(Where are the photos of your hands, lwfern? :hug:)

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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. Ha! No photos of my hands.
I'd be ashamed to post my own uncalloused hands in this thread.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-10-06 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
29. You know who this man is? The Anti-Bush.
Selfless. Generous. Thoughtful. Kind-hearted. Productive. Effective.

He should be made into a commercial as the true American spirit.

K&R.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
32. Bodhisattvas and angels walk among us, showing us the way...
Thank you very much for sharing these stories, not only about Skinner but all the other work and the workers who do it. Blessings to all of you who do this labor :grouphug:

Hekate

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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. Yes, absolutely.
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cigsandcoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 02:14 AM
Response to Original message
33. Wonderful post and photos. Thank you. n/t
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
34. So...now let's talk about "Work that Americans Won't Do".
eom
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Kire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
35. Chicks dig scars
:kick:
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #35
39. women, not chicks.
But yes, I have an appreciation for battle wounds of all kinds, and lines in a face that tell a story about who a person is, and where they've been. I even liked the dings and scratches in my old wedding ring, which was a very soft gold - I felt like it showed off the struggles we'd been through, and I preferred it to a harder metal that always looked new. And I prefer ripped jeans patched with worn out clothes full of memories to brand new store ones.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-11-06 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
37. kicked and recommended.
Like those who worked at the WTC rescue....after effects will prove very long lasting, with no help or support from the government for health coverage.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 03:03 PM
Response to Original message
41. Link to more pictures at work
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. The ones of him working on Grace's home are sad
I read on Niki's blog that she passed away before her house was done.

Grace:
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Did you work on her house? and a kick for more pictures
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #43
45. No, I didn't work on it
But I had seen it in the blog and her face struck me for some reason. So the caption on the photo caught my attention.
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Cameron27 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
44. Thank you for this post
I clicked on feeling so angry about a ridiculous something going on in my house. And then I saw Skinner's hands, and all the photos you've posted and suddenly the world seems very bright.

What a wonderful man, what wonderful people there are in this world.

Thanks again for bringing them into my sometimes very silly life.

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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
46. Thank you brother!
If it weren't for people like you, I would have given up long ago. :hug:

I don't know if you will read this, but I'd like to buy you a beer someday at Cooter's.
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