The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

April 10, 2013

New Mexico volunteers in town to team up with Rebuild Joplin

A group of dedicated volunteers are making Joplin their home for the week to help rebuild two homes impacted by the 2011 tornado, bringing building expertise and an influx of money to help put families back into their homes.

Thirteen members from St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and Peace Lutheran Church out of Las Cruces, N.M., brought $4,000 and gift cards to help two houses located at 2022 Pennsylvania Ave. and 1806 Iowa Ave. come closer to being ready for occupants again. The group has spent the past eight years traveling the country to help rebuild homes that were devastated in natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas. Kathy Morrow said Tuesday that the group has been funded by its  churches to help communities rebuild.

“We started traveling because we had a priest from our church who had moved to an area that was destroyed by Katrina, and we wanted to know how we could help,” Morrow said. “We traveled to the site and found out that they were very well organized for groups like us. They had places for us to sleep and sites ready to go for us to get to work at.”

The group found out about the Joplin rebuilding effort through a Rebuild Joplin representative who was on-site studying the St. Bernard Project last summer in Louisiana. Neal McMillan, another volunteer with the project, said that group members had found the Rebuild Joplin crews to be extremely organized.

The group is a conglomerate of workers with experience from everything from siding to drywall, which has made it a hot commodity among the Rebuild Joplin program. Rachel Grewe, site supervisor with Rebuild Joplin, said that large groups that have prior building knowledge are uncommon.

“It is rare to get this big of a group to come through that are work-ready and who need minimal training,” Grewe said. “So for us to get a group that has this kind of skills is a blessing for us.”

Grewe said that the homes that the group is currently working on are touched by about 300 to 400 volunteers typically before they are finished. Much of her time is spent training groups on specific duties to help finish projects. Since the tornado, Rebuild Joplin has helped rebuild over 60 homes on a completely volunteer-driven basis.

Many of the houses surrounding the property on Iowa Avenue are still marked with X-codes that were used to identify properties after the devastation. Grewe said that a build project like this helps motivate other homeowners to follow suit.

“You’ll see people starting to take pride in their neighborhoods again once they see somewhere to start,” Grewe said. “That’s what Rebuild Joplin has been about. We are here to help build better neighborhoods down to the houses.”

The Las Cruces crew will depart Sunday to return home, McMillan said. But not before it leaves its mark on the city.

“We want people to be able to move forward,” McMillan said. “We want these houses to become homes.”

Organization

“After we scheduled our 2013 trip here they were in contact with us,” said Neal McMillan, of Las Cruces. “We’ve found that Rebuild Joplin is the best organized group that we have worked with.”

1
Text Only
May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

Purchase Globe Photos


Featured Ads
Facebook
Tornado: Multimedia coverage
Tornado: Obituaries
Tornado: Columns
Tornado: Mike Pound
Tornado: Lists of missing, fatalities & relief
Tornado: Donate & volunteer
Tornado: Resources & relief