Raising Barns in Panama City


Last week a group of GZG volunteers made the trip to the Panama City area to help a family that was weary and overwhelmed with trying to restore their lives and livelihood following giant Hurricane Michael.

One of the key components of moving forward with their ranching business involved rebuilding two of the barns that were totally destroyed by the storm. They had purchased all of the materials, but needed someone to put it all together. That’s where GZG came in! The only challenge was that we had never built a barn before!

Special recognition to Chuck Barlage and Joe Swafford for putting together a game plan and implementing it over the course of the 4 days that we were there. Given the fact that we had never taken on a project like this, the sheer magnitude of the work and the small team that gathered to take it on, it was one amazing week!

I am so proud of the men who made the trip and gave themselves to the work and to the family. The days were long and the work was hard. There were many things we were all learning as we moved forward that required patience.

The work was at times dangerous and there were opportunities for accidents or injuries. These were avoided by the coordination and unity we felt as brothers and by the grace of God!

Every single man played a significant role in the goal of building these structures. Erecting 6X6 posts that were 20 ft. long and placing steel trusses that weighed 100’s of pounds. Working up off the ground is always risky!

We worked into the night Saturday to finish putting up the final truss on the Big Barn as the family celebrated! It was a beautiful evening, the stars shining brightly, a cool breeze and a sense that all was going to be well. We will return to finish the job within a few weeks.

Thanks to Forrest and Carol Ann and their entire family for their hospitality and care! It was a week none of us will forget!