Local volunteers to help rebuild after tornado

Posted By: Camila Orti

Almost one year after a tornado ripped through Oklahoma, local church groups are getting ready to help the town of Moore rebuild.

An EF5 twister tore through 17 miles of Moore, Okla. on May 20, killing 24 people and destroying more than a thousand homes.

“No trees, no cement, no signs, no signs of their home, I can't imagine the damage,” First-Plymouth Associate Minister Barbara Smisek said.

That's why volunteers from Westminster Presbyterian and First-Plymouth churches are packing their tools and joining the recovery effort.

“Their lives are still in ruins and so it's important to follow up and continue serving a community until they have completely rebuilt and are back on their feet,” Westminster Associate Pastor Jen Strickland said.

Strickland says the church has a special disaster team made up of carpenters and engineers that go on mission trips like these twice a year. This will be their 16th since Hurricane Katrina.

“It's important for us as a faith community to turn outward and go and serve,” Strickland said.

Last year the crew was in Joplin, Mo. One of history's most catastrophic tornadoes devastated the city in 2011.

Now, with attention turned to Moore, 23 people will help build new homes in the hardest-hit areas.

“We might even go back next fall, possibly even next spring and just continue the work because it does take so much time,” Strickland said.