Story and photo submitted by Sara Goodwin
Communications Associate, UMCOR Colorado Flood Recovery Team
What did you and your family do on your summer vacation? The Kinkead family from Chesterfield, Virginia, did something you don't hear about very often, if at all. They used their vacation time to help a flood survivor from Boulder - Margaret Alfonso.
A family of five, the Kinkead's took inspiration from a book they read called Radical, by David Platt. Two main points in the book really piqued the interest of the Kinkead family. One is to do mission work outside of what you already may do for your local church, etc., and the other is to give up something sacrificially. The Kinkead family accepted this challenge and chose to give up eating out at restaurants for one year. All the money they saved from not going out to restaurants they put into a "mission" fund. This "mission" fund is what paid their way for the five of them to come to Colorado and help flood survivor "Miss Margaret," as they call her.
The Kinkead family contacted the Rocky Mountain Conference's Flood Recovery Team Volunteer Coordinator Deb Campbell to help plan a flood related mission project for their summer vacation. In the midst of a rush of several volunteer groups that Deb was coordinating, working together with Project Manager Larry Glover, Deb made a "match" between the Kinkead family and Miss Margaret. It was a match made in Heaven.
The Kinkead family and Miss Margaret hit it off immediately. Miss Margaret's house, neighborhood and community in Boulder were substantially damaged by the flood last September. The Kinkead family and Miss Margaret knew there was a lot of work to be done and worked together to complete many tasks - they dug trenches, put up retaining walls, put in window wells and hauled dirt away. The work wasn't easy and they all worked tirelessly in the mid-July Colorado heat. But no one complained, not even the Kinkead's three children - ages 10, 13 and 16. They believed they accomplished something, and according to Miss Margaret they did.
"The Kinkeads are such good spirited, humble folks. They came here with a purpose and saw this as a part of their adventure in Colorado. They even wanted to stay longer to help more. Receiving the help I did from them inspires me to help others...to pay it forward. And that's what I intend to do," said Miss Margaret.
The Kinkead family and Miss Margaret both felt they were kindred spirits destined to meet some day.
"Margaret gave as much effort to the work as we did. She was there every step of the way working with us. We've been on many mission trips before, but we've never had such a gracious host as Miss Margaret. She is such a kind woman. She even cooked for us, which my oldest son really enjoyed," said Heather Kinkead.
In the end, it was a truly gratifying experience for the Kinkead family and flood survivor Miss Margaret. Miss Margaret stressed the fact that the flood recovery process is long from over. There are still many people displaced and some who are even just now discovering damage to their homes and businesses. If it wasn't for volunteers like the Kinkeads, the recovery process would take even longer. Miss Margaret believes that the selflessness and supportive nature of the Kinkead family is what Colorado needs to fully recover from this disaster.