Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Vacation Pictures (St Louis 2008)

I don't often (or ever) share my vacation photos in public, but I did want to share these becuase while I was away last week I had the unusual opportunity to include another CT in my vacation.

Every year since 2001 I've chaperoned a group of youth from my church on their annual mission trip. This year we went to St Louis, Missouri and the work we were doing was helping an organization called Metro Homeless Center which provides an emergency shelter, transitional housing, and some limited social services and food supplies to homeless women in the St Louis area. The first day we worked on cleaning up a basement and organizing supplies, painting walls, and clearing out store rooms. But I heard one of the shelter staff say something about "the computers" so I told her I was a computer tech if they needed help with any of that.

It turns out they had been trying to build a tech center to teach computer skills to their clients and to give them better resources to use to look for work, apartments, etc. They had acquired some donated PCs but they were being stored at a staff person's home because the room they wanted to use was full of junk and they had no funds to wire the room or setup the computers. They showed me the room, and I told them we could make it work. But being without things like cable testers & crimpers and all the usual comforts of my home work bench, I was a little stuck. So I called the nearest CT, Rick Cohen (Computer Troubleshooters of Clayton, just a few miles away).

Not only did Rick agree to let me borrow his tools, he let me borrow himself as he donated a full day's work to help us get the center setup. Besides being just a generally great thing to do for the community, we're hoping that the shelter will become a regular customer for Rick as well, since a very similar shelter here close to me has been a customer of mine for years. And I found out that one of our youth (we had 15 kids with us from ages 12 to 18) told her mom that her favorite part of the mission trip was when Rick taught her how to crimp RJ45 connectors. (seriously)

It was a great week for me, and made all the more so by being able to share it with another CT. Thanks Rick!


P.S. one of the pics is Rick with some of the youth while the room was still a work in progress, the other is Rick's photo when he came back and finished the room. Note that I could only get 7 of 12 computers working, which is why I'm not a tech anymore.

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