Thanks to Saratoga, NY
for their help.
from the saratogian.com:
MECHANICVILLE — In a year that has wreaked havoc on many small businesses, one local construction company is rallying its muscle power behind the old adage “give and you shall receive.”
Kevin Altamura, of Altamura & Associates in Mechanicville, and a crew of about six volunteers from his family construction business are heading to New Orleans Feb. 22 to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
They’ll spend one week working with other volunteers through Operation Southern Comfort (OSC), an organization based in central New York that helps needy and displaced families on the Gulf Coast with the assistance of charitable organizations.
“They need skilled people, and so that’s why as a business I thought I could bring skilled people,” Altamura said. “I felt it was important for us to go down because it’s been more than four years now, and there’s a lot of people down there that have not received a lot of benefits.”
Thousands of displaced families in Mississippi and Louisiana still live in trailers, he added.
The group’s goal is to build the frame and roof of a small house (about 800 to 1,200 square feet) that will be home to a family of up to six people in the lower ninth ward of the city.
Volunteers will divide into teams to do everything from tearing down old structures and removing debris to erecting new walls.
Local churches and a Knights of Columbus chapter in New Orleans host the volunteers and provide meals, which cost $50 for the week. Other travel expenses are being paid for by the business, Altamura said.
The trip will be the family’s second to the area; last winter, Altamura and his parents, David and Lisa, chaperoned a group of college and high school students from schools in Syracuse and Mechanicville.
“We tried to save homes that should have been demolished but due to lack of funding are being rebuilt,” he said.
Altamura, who started his remodeling company in 2006, said he’s eager to give back to the less fortunate despite the financial hardships his and other local businesses have faced this year — an attitude that is shaped by personal experience.
“I lost my house to the tornado of Mechanicville in ’98, and there were lots of people around to help us get it together then,” he said. “Ultimately, I think that if you give, you shall receive.”
Other local builders interested in volunteering with Altamura & Associates in February can contact the business at 470-0032. For more information about upcoming Operation Southern Comfort trips, go to this link .