JOPLIN, Mo. —
In Chelby Reynolds’ newly repaired home, there’s a ladder and a framed picture, both covered in signatures.
The names are from across the country and belong to the volunteers who helped repair her storm-damaged house.
“They were out there in the snow and the rain,” Reynolds said. “People say there aren’t people like that out there. There are.”
Rebuild Joplin, Catholic Charities and volunteers from AmeriCorps officially welcomed Reynolds, her daughter, Mary, and their four dogs home on Wednesday afternoon.
Reynolds, who purchased the home, her first, a year before the May 22 tornado, had been remodeling since she moved in.
JUST IN TIME FOR STORM
She had scraped wallpaper, mudded and repainted, and said she had finally finished her home improvement projects when the tornado hit.
Though her home, on 14th Street near Range Line Road, was on the edge of the disaster zone, the wind had filled the house with water, mud and debris. There were holes in the roof, damage to trees and broken windows. Reynolds said the siding looked as if someone had fired a gun at the house.
“It was a big mess,” she said. “I remember trying to mop (water) up with rags.”
Reynolds and her daughter stayed with Reynolds’ father in the storm’s aftermath while water poured in through holes, damaging the home and furnishings further. The ceiling began to grow mold.
“I saved and I saved” and worked hard to buy the house in the first place, she said, adding that without repairs, the house wouldn’t be worth what she owed on it.
She was underinsured and had limited financial resources.
When she was told, for insurance purposes, to wait for a damaged tree to give way and fall on the house, she called Catholic Charities for help.
While she found someone else to help her with the tree, she began working with Norma Hernandez, a case manager with Catholic Charities, to begin repairs on the home.
“When (Hernandez) called and said they were going to start, I just started bawling,” Reynolds said.