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March 3, 2013

BOUNCING BACK: Charitable assistance nearly complete, but still needed

(Continued)

HENRYVILLE —

During the course of the recovery, Jenkins said thousands of volunteers came through the organization — up to 200 to 300 volunteers per day at its peak. While there was tremendous support in the wake of the disaster, there are still needs in the areas affected by the tornado a year ago.

“The major disaster relief is over, but we’re still doing smaller things,” Jenkins said.

He said there was a recent call to shingle a roof, and O’Day added that there is a definitive need for skilled workers like carpenters and builders.

But it’s not just structures people need help rebuilding.

“I think there’s a lot of need for, you might call it counseling,” Blevins said. “I think we’re moving along pretty good. Lives and families [are] coming back together.”

 

OBSTACLES TO RECOVERY

Even with the generally positive response related to the outreach, it wasn’t without its problems.

“A lot prevented us from doing the job we wanted to do.” Blake said.

She explained that there were obstacles to rebuilding related to zoning laws that slowed or stopped the process in some places.

“There’s a lot of promises made to people out here and they were broken,” Blevins said.

He explained people were promised homes and the outreach organizations have yet to deliver on the promise. He would not say which organization had made those promises.

Part of the willingness of others to promise assistance is part of the reason Jenkins said his church wanted to maintain its independence.

“[We] didn’t want to promise something we couldn’t deliver,” he said.

He added that there is still a lot more to do and in speaking with others who have been part of recovery efforts, it usually takes about two years to recover from something like this. 

But Blevins said for some it takes much longer.

“I don’t guess a person really get[s] back what they lost,” he said.

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