Brookport, IL -
Community members and volunteers in Southern Illinois have created a committee dedicated to rebuilding homes and restoring hope after last November's deadly tornado, filling in the gap where FEMA left off.
Many people whose homes were damaged or destroyed got repair bills that exceeded what FEMA provided. That's where the Massac and Pope County Recovery Committee is stepping in. Their volunteers are still on the ground, working without pay to repair homes and even build new ones. The committee is led by local church pastors and community leaders who have raised the money people need for repairs once their FEMA funds run out.
Eddie Osburn is one of those volunteers, working with a room full of people. These folks are using their expertise and some muscle to rebuild one home back better than before.
"I do it, because I love the Lord and I love people. It's just that simple," Osburn said of his clear motives, backed by a belief in serving others. "It's a group of citizens, all local folks, that have come in and gathered together to rebuild our community," he added.
They've raised more than $300,000 to assist people like Mary Warfield, who only has mangled metal left of her old mobile home.
"Thank God that this come along. It's a big blessing. Big, big blessing," Warfield said. "It was totally destroyed, it was just in a mess."
She got FEMA assistance, but it didn't cover the cost of rebuilding her home from the ground up.
"The most you could get for a home if you lost it totally is $32,400, and you can't build anything for that," she said.
Now volunteers and MPCRC leaders say Warfield and others like her have two things: hope and faith. The MPCRC is working on applying for grants and fundraising. Their goal is to have enough money to help people who may need smaller repairs after they're finished with those who need total rebuilds. They are currently working on five homes in Unionville and Brookport, which their goal to eventually repair or rebuild at least 23.