By Brianna Stephens
Mike Troutman and his crew for Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Housing Program went above and beyond to serve a woman in need in Appalachia and ultimately helped save her life.
“It was a good feeling knowing we just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” said Troutman, a crew leader in the program.
Troutman and the volunteers began exterior and interior work on the woman’s home in early October. They got to know her well, learning she needed dialysis several times a week, and were concerned when she complained of not feeling well in her stomach, thinking she was coming down with a virus.
When the crew came back after the weekend ready to continue their work, they found the woman was very sick inside her home. As part of the crew tried to call the woman’s close friend, a volunteer with medical training checked over the woman. She then urged them to call 911. Paramedics arrived, stabilized the woman, and transported her to a medical facility.
The next day Troutman and his crew returned to the home to continue exterior work and learned from a neighbor the woman had missed her dialysis for two weeks. Over the next several weeks Troutman said he tried to get in touch with the participant with no luck but was finally able to reach her directly at the hospital.
The woman told him after his crew helped her get medical attention, she went into a coma and was put on life support. “A relative of hers said if we had been an hour later getting to her that morning, she would not have survived,” Troutman said.
The woman was released from the hospital to stay with her family during recovery, and Troutman and his crew continued work on her home to ensure it was finished on time and ready for her when she returns.
“When I talk to her on the phone, she sounds so much better than the day we found her,” Troutman said. “She seems to be well on the road to recovery.”
During the pandemic, CAP has continued to provide safe, warm, dry, and accessible housing to people in need in Appalachia. CAP has put precautions into place for staff and volunteers on job sites to be able to safely continue work. Teams are smaller to help with social distancing, plus, masks are encouraged, temporary handwashing stations were added, tools are disinfected regularly, and contact is limited between teams and participants.