Storm Stories  


Our Beach Unity Group (BUG) has always met in a building named YANA Club, a 501c3 organization dedicated to providing a place for recovery to AA and other 12-step organizations. Our beautiful YANA Club building had lost some roofing shingles exposing the roof decking. A big sycamore tree out back came down, fortunate to fall harmlessly in the parking area, and partially in our neighbors’ back lot. This along with the sheer scope of destruction everyone was witnessing brought home the powerlessness that we all live with every day.

We started having our regular 5:30 meetings about four days after the storm. The other organizations (NA, OA, SA) meeting there later in the day had to cancel due to the curfew. In those first few days, Mike B managed to get a tarp on the roof to curb the inevitable leaking rain, and Harold G used a chainsaw on the big sycamore tree to clear out the parking area.  While clearing debris and doing our repairs, we all met our neighbors in way that we had not before, having a common burden.

Some BUG members discussed with the YANA Board how to handle repairs. The building had insurance, and was originally intended primarily for liability. The policy simply did not cover wind damage. We found out later that this arrangement is common for most businesses in town, due to costs. The YANA Board discussed bake sales, fun dinner events, and a number of fundraisers. We all knew there would be roof repair companies in this area for many months to come. Earlier in the year, the YANA Board members had talked about getting a new metal roof. So in one of those meetings after the storm, a prayer was requested; a prayer for a new metal roof for the YANA club!

Although we may not like the situation, knowing that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment, and that nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake, allows us to confidently place our lives under the authority of that great power and find serenity.

Our little meetings have always had visitors from other towns; spring breaker crowds in the summer, snow birds in the winter. We quickly began to have visitors who were in town doing clean-up, repair, volunteering and restoration work, grateful to have a meeting to go to. They began to share about being out in the community, helping where they can, and witnessing families living on their front lawns with all of their salvageable possessions. We could see the humility in their stories.

One visitor said she was from New York, did not want to divert her vacation. So she and her family ended up here volunteering to help. She said that her brother (not one of us) gave her a ride to the meeting, and wanted to know why she would go to a meeting to listen to people cry about their woes. She shared that during this meeting she had seen the spirit of hope, and witnessed folks that really care about each other. She said, "that muscle of endurance that gets flexed all the time at meetings, so that in our time of need it is really there". WOW!  So grateful to God and AA for where I am right now.

In a matter of days, our BUG group found some extra dollars when we passed the seventh tradition, and the YANA Club had some donations from supporters. We found that The YANA Club roof repair (phase 1) could take place on November 17th, 38 days after the storm! With sufficient donations, the materials were purchased to repair the flat roof over the break area, the part that had the most damage. This effort would solve the leaky roof problem. There was discussion about getting shingles to replace the missing ones on the pitched part of the roof over the meeting room, and we would continue to call for prayer for a metal roof covering for that part. Insulation and sheetrock repairs would still be needed for the break room and kitchen.

The other 12-step recovery groups began to have their meetings, as the curfews began to ease. Other clubs in the area began coming back online. We heard that “Central” had a meeting, “The Trailer” was meeting without bathroom facilities, and others were accomplishing what they could. A little at a time, every day we began to see some improvement. This town will never be the same, sad and exciting at the same time.

During this time, there began to be talk that an out of town roofing contractor had heard our prayer, and was willing to fix the rest of our roof, on their tab. As the days passed and the contacts were made, we discovered this indeed, was true! One of the roofing contractors in town looking for a meeting, found us  and heard our prayer. Almost without hesitation, they decided to fulfill that prayer! On November 27th, 48 days after the storm, the [removed to protect anonymity] company installed a beautiful metal roof on the YANA Club! These guys “lost interest in selfish things, and gain interest in their fellows” in truth and in deed! These people who own this company, both in recovery were showing rare courage, and love for others that we will never forget.

Our next order of business was to show our appreciation. The YANA Club decided to fund a dinner in honor of the roofers, so a date and time was quickly decided and we began announcing the dinner invitation at meetings. One of the members decided to go to a local banner/print shop [removed to protect anonymity] , to get a plaque made expressing our gratitude to the roofers. As it happens, this business was once owned by the founder of the YANA Club. They made a beautiful plaque for us and did not even charge for it!

So many new friends have been made as a result of the storm. Among them, lifelong friends. “You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder you're common journey.”

On December 14th, there were about 10 roofers and about 15 club members at a local restaurant. In the middle of the dinner, the plaque was presented to the owner of the roofing company. They were so appreciative, and their faces glowed as they passed it around! The plaque read:

No beauty shines brighter than that of a good heart.
The YANA Club, and all the members from each of the group meetings are grateful to all involved at the [removed to protect anonymity] Company and the Men who installed the metal roof on our clubhouse. 
Good deeds are eternal.
November 20, 2018.

YANA Plaque

Posted By: Mike R