By Susan Redden
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Officials and volunteers with Rebuild Joplin on Friday celebrated the return of another family to a home rebuilt after the Joplin tornado.
The ceremony, put on at the new home of Albert and Debbie Spratling, 2430 Murphy Ave., also celebrated a relationship between the group and Farmers Insurance. Volunteers from the company came from throughout the U.S. to work on the house and the corporation is partnering with Rebuild Joplin through the end of the year on the rebuilding effort and a project aimed at helping other communities respond after disaster.
Albert Spratling said he and his wife are grateful they can return to their rebuilt home, especially since they are able to provide a home for their two young grandchildren, who they have adopted. The couple joins 80 other families who have been able to return home because of work by Rebuild Joplin and its volunteers.
Jerrod Hogan, executive director for Rebuild Joplin, praised volunteers on the project including volunteers and technical support from Farmers Insurance, which also donated vehicles the organization uses to get materials to building sites.
“It’s been a phenomenal partnership in terms of volunteer, technical and financial support,” Hogan said.
Doreen Finnie, development director with Rebuild Joplin, said Farmers Insurance has sent employees from across the country to volunteer at the house.
“They’ve paid for their travel and lodging, and its counted as part of their work week,” she said.
Company executives last May came to Joplin — and to the work site at the Spratling home — to announce their pledge of additional funds and more than 10,000 hours of volunteer work.
Farmers also has placed a company executive, Nan Truel, head of specialty services operations, in Joplin until the end of the year to oversee the program and to document local efforts for use in a “best practices playbook” that Farmers will compile and give to communities hit by disasters in the future.
“Farmers has settled a lot of claims here, but we wanted to come back and help you cross the finish line,” Truel said Friday.
Officials recognized other volunteers who worked on the project, including Americorps and local work groups from Boyd Metals, Mercy Health System, Southwest Missouri Bank, Fletcher Toyota and Macadoodles.
Nearly 150 volunteers worked on the house, contributing 3,696 hours of work valued at $80,535.
Area residents can get an opportunity to volunteer on a future Rebuild Joplin house today in the parking lot of Forest Park Baptist Church at Seventh Street and Range Line Road. At the site, volunteers with Rebuild Joplin will be framing up walls for an entire house. The work, set for 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., is expected to wrap up “with all the stud walls finished for an entire house,” said Doreen Finnie, development director with Rebuild Joplin.