HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Friday afternoon, R3SM helped another tornado victim move back into their home nearly 14 months after January’s devastating EF-3 tornado. Last year’s tornado blew Helen Smith's home to the ground, along with a number of other houses, but thanks to the R3SM and the Mennonites Disaster Service, Smith is back in her home.
“It is very satisfying and fulfilling when we're able to help someone in that way,” Larry Stoner, Regional Operations Coordinator for the Mennonites Disaster Service said.
“It's not just about building the houses, but connecting with the people and their families,” Executive Director for R3SM, Mavis Creagh said. “I think they had a good experience.”
R3SM Case Manager, Missy Gordilla had the opportunity to share that special connection with Smith.
“It's just been a pleasure working with her, and we've kind of gotten to know each other, and she's been great,” Gordilla said.
“She helped me out a lot,” Smith said, responding to Gordilla's comments. “When I met her, she told me, 'Ms. Smith we're going to take good care of you,' and that's exactly what she did during the time my house needed to be repaired. She was there for me the whole time, and I thank her.”
After year nearly 14 months, Smith now holds the keys to her new home. Smith's home is the 9th house R3SM has completed. The organization aims to rebuild a total of over 20 houses.