In Minot, N.D., volunteer efforts continue, with rebuilding to begin in the spring. But many people are surprised to hear that regular volunteers aren’t needed in Joplin, Mo., said Mike Nevergall, associate director for Lutheran Disaster Response. It’s not a typical disaster because the tornado “literally left nothing to repair,” he explained. “Additionally [local authorities are still] making decisions about what [rebuilding] will look like. So eventually — not yet — we’ll need small teams of highly skilled folks.”
Skilled volunteers (particularly general contractors and licensed specialists) may find more information at the ELCA website. Regular volunteers can also sign up at the website to receive email updates for current needs.
Funds are always needed for LDR to work where it is most urgent. Send checks to: ELCA Disaster Response, 39330 Treasury Center, Chicago, IL 60694-9300; call 800-638-3522; or give online.
When Kathy and Nickey Hughes and their three grandchildren emerged from their storm shelter in Phil Campbell, Ala., after an April 27 tornado, they couldn't see their house across the street. "Everything was gone. You couldn't tell where you were, and I've been here since I was 16," she said. "We worked all these years for it and everything is gone. The children are still having nightmares. It's horrifying."
Two months later, the family moved into a home rebuilt through a collaborative pilot project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mennonite Disaster Service, Lutheran Ministries of Alabama, Lutheran Disaster Response and others. "We all love [our new house]," Hughes said.
|Lutheran Disaster Response volunteers Jerry Maier (left), Becky Maier, Laureen Burns from Stillwater, Minn., and Bill Brooks from Langdon, N.D., take a break from removing hardwood floors and a bathtub from a flood-damaged house in Burlington, N.D.|
Spring and summer storms hit hard in 2011. April tornados that cut a wide path of destruction through Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia were followed by an equally destructive May 22 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo. LDR leaders were still surveying the damage in Joplin when they were called out a month later to provide relief from flooding in Minot, N.D.
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