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Kindness in Action: Michigan Volunteers help with renovations to local historic landmark

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - R3SM helped more than 25 people rebuild their home since the January 2017 EF3 tornado, and now the tables have taken a turn. This time, it is actually R3SM receiving help from a volunteer group that traveled all the way to the Pine Belt from Michigan.

The historic landmark, formerly known as the “Robinson Inn” continues to stand tall, and remains as one of the few hotels in the Pine Belt that is more than 100 years old. "It's a big blessing for them to be in our community to work on people's homes, but also to work on the big blue house in downtown Hattiesburg," Mavis Creagh, the executive director for R3SM said. The big blue house and former Robinson Inn, now serves as a volunteer house for R3SM, a nonprofit organization that helps Pine Belt residents when a disaster stricks. However, this time the roles are reversed and R3SM is actually the one receiving help. "They talked about how much they help the community and shared with us [that] they don't have time to keep up with their own house," April Sparks, a volunteer from Westwood Christian Reformed Chuch said. "So, we wanted to bless them." In response, the group sent more than 30 volunteers a distance of nearly 1,000 miles. Traveling from Kalamazoo, Mich. to Hattiesburg, Miss. R3SM's construction supervisor, Darrell Lewis says the added help from the volunteers lifts a huge burden off of his shoulders. "It really strengthens me," Lewis stated. "It strengthens our organization to know that we are not only working in the community, but we've been restored." Overall, the volunteers mentioned they are delighted to assist R3SM in their mission. "We hope to get the painting done," Sparks said. "We are working on two new rebuilds and we are doing kitchen cabinets and bathroom floors." In total, the group will donate at least $20,000 in labor to R3SM, before they make their way back home to Michigan, Friday, April 5.



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