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November 18, 2012

BACK HOME AGAIN: Family moves in to first March2Recovery tornado relief house

OTISCO — After the March 2 tornado damaged the roof of their trailer to the point where the home wasn’t habitable, Lisa Logsdon didn’t know where her family would be able to turn for help.

Water leaked into the trailer to the point that mold infested the home, and the Logsdons didn’t have insurance to cover the expenses of repairing the damage.

Like so many people in Henryville, Otisco and Southern Indiana, the storm left the Logsdons with many questions but no answers.

Where federal assistance ended, local efforts bridged the gap.

The organization March2Recovery identified the Logsdons as one of hundreds of families in need of help. The volunteer group then partnered with Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour not to simply repair the Logsdon’s trailer, but to build them a new house.

Dozens of volunteers aided in the mission, and by early September the house’s frame was raised on the same property where the Logsdons’ trailer had been damaged in the spring.

Lisa and her husband Mario Logsdon recently moved into the home with one of their daughters. On Saturday, the couple held a housewarming party and celebrated alongside the March2Recovery and church volunteers that built the home.

“I don’t know if everybody realizes how much any little thing you did made a huge difference in our lives,” Lisa Logsdon told the group of more than 25 people that gathered inside the family’s den. “I just could not believe how unselfish everybody was.”

If struggling with the hardship of losing a home isn’t tough enough, Mario is also battling colon cancer. He smiled and humbly said “it’s amazing” several times to the group as he looked around his new home.

The couple spoke of their gratitude to the volunteers and for the blessings they’ve received when times were bleak.

“It’s kind of renewed my faith a lot — in humans and in God,” Lisa Logsdon said.

Immanuel Lutheran Pastor Jimmy Rodriguez led a ceremony both in and outside of the Logsdon’s home Saturday, as he blessed different sections of the house.

Many of the volunteers pitched-in four or five hours a day after working their regular jobs.

“Nobody ever complained. It was just a great atmosphere and just a great thing I think for everybody involved,” said Steve Stark, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church.

The Logsdons are the first family to move into a volunteer-built home as sponsored by March2Recovery. According to the organization, more than 16,000 volunteers from 49 states have been involved with the group’s relief efforts since March.

March2Recovery has 73 construction projects in different phases in Clark, Jefferson and Washington counties. The group received a grant to assist families, but donations and sponsors such as churches and other organizations have aided the effort.

March2Recovery Executive Director Carolyn King anticipates the group will be involved in as many as 100 construction projects by next summer.

Materials and donations are still needed. For more information, visit the website march2recovery.org.

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Students of Ms. Kitzmiller's first grade class sing and dance in the gymnasium at Grant Line Elementary before heading to their classroom to begin the school year Thursday morning in New Albany.

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