Community helps Lamar County family rebuild

Churches, contractors and volunteer groups across the Pine Belt band together to help a man and his family re-build after their home was destroyed in the February tornado. The new house is everything but average.

Lamar Park Water Manager, Wesley Hodges, says he is overwhelmed by the support he and his family receive daily from the community. He says he owes it to one thing...

"When the tornado ripped through my home, I grabbed my wife and granddaughter, and when everything around us was being torn into the air, I felt God's hands push down."

The community helps Hodges pick up the pieces the devastating tornado left behind.

"All I can say is thanks be to God, because He has just gone and orchestrated this," he said.

"He's put people in our path that I didn't know."

Hodges says the price to build a low maintenance safe home like his is reasonable.

"You can get it for about the same price as a stick built house," he said.

The difference between a stick built house and Hodges' new house is steel. Local contractor Chris Speagle, known around town for helping others, from setting up a food pantry in his back yard, to donating household items free of charge, builds an energy efficient home for Hodges and his family.

"It's all locally manufactured products," said Speagle.

"From the contractors to the builders."

The newly built house can withstand fire, 300 MPH winds, and a budget.

"The energy efficiency of the house is about sixty percent, so we're looking at about a sixty dollar a month energy bill," Speagle said.

He also says the structure of the house makes it windproof.

"There's at 8 inches of concrete, and 2 inches of Styrofoam on the outside, and the inside of each block."

Hodges says after the tornado wrecked his home of 14 years, he received an outpouring from groups all over the community.

"I pray for a lot of folks, but there's a lot of folks that are praying for me, and there's been a lot of folks who came out and just helped me from different denominations and churches, and it's just awesome."

The house is expected to be completed within the next few months.