After surviving the wrath of Hurricane Irma, many victims of south Florida are now being hit with yet another devastating blow–the cost of repairing the damage to their homes. Luckily, there are volunteers like former landscape contractor Michael Clarkston, who is giving a lot of homeowners a reason to have hope.
Clarkston, better known as “the General,” is a part of a group of men and women in Miami-Dade, Florida, who call themselves “Koncious Contractors”. The collection of non-profit employees, retirees, and community activists have been traveling all around the city, helping those in desperate need. “Many people can’t afford the costs to repair the damage to their properties,” said Clarkston. “So, we’re here to help.”
The 69-year-old retiree has been leading volunteer efforts that include cutting down trees, putting up tarps on damaged roofs, and helping to fix broken fences. “We’ve been on the ground ever since the storm hit, and haven’t taken a day off since.”
Koncious Contractors have been especially helpful to people like local resident Laura Everette, who didn’t know what to do after Hurricane Irma knocked a tree onto her minivan. Everette, 57, is a double amputee and lives on a fixed income. “I was wondering how the tree was going to be removed,” she said.
About a week after the storm, the Koncious Contractors came knocking on Everette’s front door. The group of volunteers offered to help, and were able to successfully remove the tree off of her vehicle. “Aside from scratches and a few dents, the car was fine,” she said.
What is special about Koncious Contractors, and other groups like them, is that the services they offer are absolutely free. The volunteers do accept donations that go towards supplies, maintenance of power tools, and gas to help get them around in their borrowed van.
“It’s not just for those who own low-income properties. We help them, too. But really, it’s just about people,” said one volunteer. “It’s about our love for our neighbors and our community.”