A youth group and chaperones from Amherst, NH, spent a week in June in New Orleans and got back more than they gave. Nye Hornor, Amherst Label VP (standing third from right) and his daughter Carolyn (on the left, just below the young man pointing at the Coastal Restoration sign) were part of the group. (Photos on this page from Nye plus his friends Mark and Cindy Boynton.)

Just back from a week of service

I caught up with Amherst Label VP Nye Hornor the first morning after he returned from a service trip to New Orleans with his 16-year-old daughter Carolyn and her youth group.

“Powerful. Life-changing. Energizing.” Three words Nye used to sum up the experience.

The sixteen New Hampshire kids and parent chaperones were involved in a dizzying array of projects that all somehow helped good things happen in New Orleans.

Here’s an overview of the service projects they completed:

1) Waste-deep in water planting marsh grass for bayou restoration. (“Don’t worry about alligators,” said the scientist along on the trip.“ Alligators are not aggressive and will keep to themselves. We have never had a problem with alligators.”)  The video is on Facebook on Cynthia Messer Boynton’s page.
2) Sorting mountains of used Mardi Gras beads so they can be resold to benefit the programs of ARC, a nonprofit serving those living with handicaps and disabilities. Note the T-shirt with the double message, “Believe there is good in New Orleans,” and “Be the good in New Orleans.”
3) Painting a woman’s house to remove the “X” mark made by FEMA after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. FEMA’s markings designated buildings unoccupied, uninhabitable, clear of hazardous materials, and free of fatalities. The code and the “X” were a daily reminder of the horrible aftermath of Katrina and the homeowner, pictured with the painters, was relieved to see it go. The second painter from the left is Carolyn Hornor.
4) Painting five rooms in rental property that provides income necessary to the operations of a church. Nye is pictured painting here.
5) Installing drywall and insulation in a community service center. (Nye’s daughter Carolyn is holding up the ceiling.)

Up at 6:30am, Nye and all were on the road each day by 8am. They worked until 3pm daily unless they finished their jobs early. Everyone who knows Nye can imagine that kids on his team finished early some days. So a trip to the French Quarter for beignets fit in.

Along the way, Nye and Carolyn got to know some inspiring people. 

– A lawyer who walks through an area frequented by homeless people and hands out water every day around 3pm. He distributes three to five cases of bottled water every day. 

– The new associate pastor in Amherst who shared her thoughts on blaming: “It took me a really long time to realize that everything is not someone’s fault.” 

– Strangers who would comment on “how amazing these children are.” 

– A minister whose goal is to “stop the generational curse.” His grandfather was shot and killed, as was his father, and he plans a different end game for his life.

This is not Nye’s first service trip and won’t be his last. Looking at other people’s challenges helps put things in perspective. “It was truly a learning experience,” says Nye. “I got to see the journey of these kids and how they learn and join them in their learning experience.”

Amherst Label employees each get a paid Volunteer Day each year to serve a nonprofit of their choice. We try to support our communities, country and planet. If you’d like to know more about us, please ask.