Milford kids to help with hurricane repairs

MILFORD – It was a one-two punch that hit Spring, Texas last summer when Hurricane Harvey socked the Houston area. The devastating rains not only flooded houses up to their roofs, it also downed wires and set buildings on fire.

Recovery is ongoing, and young people from Milford and Peterborough will be traveling down there in June to help.

They will join 400 people from all over the country in the effort, organized by a faith-based nonprofit called Group Mission Trips,

Thomas Knapp, a youth leader at Milford’s United Methodist Church, said the young people have been on mission trips to Pocahontas, Virginia and Norristown, Pennsylvania to help with projects like wheelchair ramps.

But this trip will likely be more challenging, he said, because there are so many homes that needed major work after the August 2017 hurricane.

The storm, and especially the flooding from intense rains, inflicted $125 billion worth of damage to buildings in the Houston area.

Because of mold many of the homes had to be gutted.

The 22 high school students and seven adults from Milford, and five people from the Peterborough Methodist church, will likely be repairing and painting drywall, “but we could putting up drywall,” said Knapp.

The mission kids are from high schools from all over this area, including Hollis Brookline, Wilton-Lyndeborough as well as Milford.

The adults will include the church’s pastor, Dr. John Whitley, as well as parents and grandparents.

Some of the kids are old hands at this. Joe Guzman, a senior at Souhegan High School, has been to three workcamps and says he’s

looking forward to meeting new people.

Although Group Mission Trips is Christian-based, and faith is a big part of why they do the work, Knapp said there is no religious requirement.

“I bring kids who have never been to church,” he said. “Jesus was a guy who helped others … I want good kids who want to help other people.”

Knapp drives a school bus for the Butler Bus Company, and the company is lending the Milford workcamp one of their vehicles for Knapp to drive to Texas.

To save money, half the group is flying and half taking the bus for the 4,000 mile-plus round-trip. They’ll switch for the way home, with those who flew to Texas taking the bus home to Milford.

“We had a lot of frequent flyer miles donated, but not enough so that everyone can fly both ways, Knapp said.

And besides, the the bus will come in handy for the transport of tools, luggage and sleeping gear.

For overnight stops, he said, they will camp if the weather is good or they’ll stay in churches.

Shawnna Frost, a sophomore at Milford High School said the work is rewarding.

“It’s a really nice way to give back. After you help someone, it’s such a great feeling,” she said.

The group is working to earn money for the trip. They painted faces at the Milford Pumpkin Festival, held a spaghetti support and have a yard sale scheduled for later this month. They welcome donations of cash or frequent flyer miles. Contact Knapp at