Meet The Crew: Orlando

Meet The Crew

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On his background:

“I grew up in Sandtown, kind of a hard part of West Baltimore. Just like any other neighborhood, you do what you gotta do to get outta there. What made it hard was friends- being around the wrong friends who made bad decisions.”

On the difference between East and West Baltimore:

“I wouldn’t know anything about East because I grew up in West! I don’t even know the streets over there. But I’ve always been a familiar type of person, so working over East, it seems like West actually.”

On his experience in deconstruction so far:

“Oh man, it’s been an experience. Learning how to work with different equipment, being around different people, just a learning process. I don’t have a favorite part of deconstruction, I guess I like everything about it because it’s a really unique job and it teaches you. You can learn new things, you can also grow and carry new things on in life. Learn new trades, and everything like that. It gives people like me an opportunity to go out here and do the right thing and earn money.”

On working with old materials:

“I like it because we’re reusing something that was built years ago, and we’re doing it in the proper way. We’re learning that most things that we think are nothing, are really worth money.”

On the future of Eager Street:

“I would hope kids would be able to go outside and play. It was once, I think I heard someone say, it was a real bad neighborhood at one time, so I hope it’ll bring some light over there and open up new doors and new opportunities.”

On growing up in a rowhouse:

“I would think it’s like any other house, cause that’s the only house I ever lived in was a rowhouse. My dream is to make it to a house where I wouldn’t have any neighbors, but that’s a process!”
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Meet the Crew: Wandesa

Meet The Crew

 

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On her new career in deconstruction:

“It’s been a good experience for me. It shows me the difference between demolition and deconstruction, and I prefer it this way. I do. I never knew that there was a lot you could salvage out of an old vacant house.”

On working with bricks:

“There are all different types of bricks. Lots of small differences between them, but I know them now. I work with them every day, so now I see them everywhere!”

On East Baltimore when she was growing up there:

“People used to get along back then, but now it seems like not too many people do that. But I think that if we all get together and recognize what our common problems are, we can come together as one, like the old days.”

On being a woman in the deconstruction site:

“Being a woman on a job site, it makes me feel that I know I can do things that a man can do, you know? There’s nothing that a woman can’t do.”

On what she hopes for Eager Street in the future:

“It’d be nice to have a park where people can sit and come enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy this beautiful view we have here.”

 

Meet the Crew: Lawrence

Meet The Crew

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On Baltimore:

“What I love about Baltimore is that there’s a lot of opportunity, and it’s a great city to live in. There’s so much going on. There’s new development. It’s a city that’s going forward, moving forward.”

On deconstruction:

“Ordinarily, you just go in and tear everything down. But we can’t do that. We have to take our time and it just shows you the value of these houses. When you drive by, if you don’t know, you just think there’s no value in them. But now, it changes the way I look at the houses, because when I drive by, I know what’s in there. And I want to go get it! The stairs, the bricks, the beams, the floors.”

On the rowhouse:

“It’s a symbol. It’s been around for a long time. I look at the brick. I know I can go across town to the West side and I’ll still have the same brick as in the East side. So all through Baltimore, the brick is very valuable. I didn’t know that at first. The floors are good hard floors. I can’t wait to see somebody clean them up, to see how good they look laying down in a new house. There’s a lot of stuff that people take for granted. Baltimore is a true working city.”

On working with the men and women of Details:

“It’s an awesome experience. We all get along. We enjoy what we do. We help each other out. We’re a team. You don’t hear “I’ around here, it’s always “we.” If somebody is struggling and another person knows, they’re gonna come help them and make the job easy. We always know that if somebody knows something more, or an easier way, or a safer way, or a faster way, we don’t have any problem learning from somebody.”

Meet the Crew: Melvin

Meet The Crew

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On his background:

“I grew up in East Baltimore, but originally, I go back to West. I’ve been living in Baltimore my whole life- I’m pretty much from this city.”

On Baltimore:

“Baltimore, as a city, was a very beautiful city at times. But a lot of people have moved away and we have a lot of vacancies now, thousands of houses that are vacant. What we’re trying to do is restore the city and bring people back to the city, because Baltimore is a beautiful place to live. Baltimore is my home, so I’d have to say the city is wonderful. “

On deconstruction:

“What we do with deconstruction, is we go into these old city houses and we salvage everything and try to save everything that we can, from the floors, to the bricks, to the lumber to the beams. Anything that can be reused, we use it.
It’s a mighty fine job. I’m learning a lot of experience from tearing down old houses and saving everything we can inside the house for reuse.
My favorite thing about deconstruction is watching and learning; the things that we take for granted are things that we throw away, to find out that it can be reused all over again.”

On the rest of the crew:

“All the guys that I work with on this project are wonderful. It’s a very good learning experience. We have good coworkers. We’re one team. We get the job done.”

Meet the Crew: Alfred

Meet The Crew

alfred

On his background:

“Born and raised in West Baltimore. I made bad choices in my life. I chose to sell and use narcotics, and unfortunately it led me to going to institutions. But this job right here is a blessing to me and I’m gonna take full advantage of it because I have a granddaughter that I want to do things for.
Overall, I’m an easy going guy. I’m a handsome guy! I like to play basketball, any sport really- I’m a sports fanatic.What else can I say, man, I’m just blessed. I feel so good today because I’m getting a lot of things I want- I’m ready to get my own place, God willing get my own place, parents still alive and they’re very proud of me.”

On his work with Details so far:

“I like working around the guys and and the staff here, because they’re real friendly and they’ll help you in any way possible. There’s a lot of benefits, because I’m giving back to the community basically what I took away.”

On the benefits of deconstruction:

“I’m new at a lot of this stuff. I used to just tear stuff down. Deconstruction is different than demolition. I usually just tear stuff down, but deconstruction you salvage a lot of stuff and make a little more profit out of it. And the more we save, the more money comes for us and the more doors open for other people. I’m hoping that someone that hears me doing this interview will listen to what I’m saying and turn their life around, or at least attempt to turn their life around.
It can uplift the city. Baltimore has a lot of vacant houses, man. It’s too many vacant houses in Baltimore city. Other cities, it would be a blessing for them, let us come do some work for them too so we can help them out as well.”

On his favorite part of deconstruction:

“My favorite part about is working with people I don’t know that I just met. Learning how to use tools and build and background, build a foundation so that if the time comes when I have to leave this job and go somewhere else, it wouldn’t be so hard for me to explain to them that I know how to do certain things. “

On the hardest part of deconstruction:

“Hardest part about deconstruction is when it rains I can’t get no work! As long as y’all show people how to do it, there’s nothing hard about it. “

On bricks:

“Bricks. I never knew that these bricks could hold up 100 some years and still be good enough to use to build other houses. I learned how to clean them. It’s easy. There’s nothing to it. Bricks are amazing. I like working with them. “

Meet The Crew: Carnell (aka BJ)

Meet The Crew

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On what it means to work in his childhood neighborhood in East Baltimore:

“I was born over here in East Baltimore, on Jefferson and Montford Avenues. Basically, all my life I’ve been getting in trouble, so this was a good opportunity for me to switch my life around and do better…A lot of those houses have been vacant for a long time, and I’m glad they’re doing what they’re gonna do with it, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Give back to my community.”

On his favorite parts of deconstruction:

“Tearing stuff up! Tearing down walls and ceilings. But then, I also learned some new things about bricks I never knew about. Face brick, common brick, I never knew there was such a thing.”

On demolition vs. deconstruction:

“In demolition, you just go in there and tear it up. But in deconstruction, you’ve gotta be a little more, how can I say it, careful. You know, it’s almost like a skill to it…I’m pretty sure deconstruction can help a lot of people get employed, and hopefully change the neighborhood, too.”

Meet The Crew: Bernadette

Meet The Crew

Bernadette standing among stacks of her handiwork

On her background:

“Born in East Baltimore. 51 years old. Eight children, one deceased, seven boys and one girl. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, I hustled and got locked up. I got clean in 2009 and have been clean ever since. It had been hard to find jobs, I had odd jobs. I started going to Turnaround Tuesday at the church and that’s how I ran across this job site, going to the church.”

On deconstruction vs traditional demolition:

“I love it. I used to do it, not legally, but getting paid going out with people working, doing houses, cleaning and everything. I helped my sister when she got her house, built from the ground up. We were just throwing everything away, and here we’re saving stuff. I didn’t even think they would do that- I thought when they would knock down a house they would just throw everything away. I learned that it’s different here: we save the bricks, the flooring, everything.”

On her favorite part of deconstruction so far:

“The bricks! I don’t mind cleaning them all day long, stacking them, cleaning them, getting them, I don’t mind. When we first started, we were inside the house knocking everything down and denailing, I chose the bricks instead of denailing.  It seemed like it was easier, but it’s more fun!”

 

Meet the crew: Dave

Meet The Crew

On his background:

I was born and raised in Baltimore, the majority of my life I’ve been in West Baltimore. I’m interested in anything that’s demanding. I like to do anything that’s demanding. I’m a cement mason by trade.”

On what he expected from the Eager Street project:

“I’ve been doing this work off and on for 8-10 years. I didn’t really know what to expect because we were used to just trashing things, just throwing everything away, so the whole recycling and reselling is new to me. It’s a learning experience and I’ve learned a lot- I actually like doing it.”

On what the project means for Baltimore:

“I would like to see this spread across my city, actually. I think that it’s a good look for the city. It creates a different atmosphere. And with a different atmosphere, people change, ideas change- people change when things around them change…With something like this project, I would like to see it done widespread, and more people get involved with it, because this is honestly the first time I’ve ever been a part of something like this, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

On his new job in deconstruction:

“I wake up every morning ready to come to work, not only because I’ve been out of work for a while, but for a person like me, I have to enjoy what I’m doing, and I actually enjoy what I’m doing. I don’t have any parts of this job that I do not like.”

On bricks:

“Bricks are tricky. Once you get a feel for what’s going on, it’s easy, but bricks are tricky. They can be tricky in size, in color. For instance, with face brick and common brick, you’ve got some face brick that look like common brick and some common brick that look like face brick!”