HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg organization which provides disaster relief services in our area will soon give a special Christmas time gift to a family who lost its home in last February's tornado. On Dec. 26, R3SM (Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi) will begin its first total house rebuild from that tornado.
About three dozen volunteers from out-of-state will be coming to the Hub City to spend a week working on the house.
On Thursday, the folks at Brownstone's restaurant accepted donations to help R3SM during their annual Thanksgiving feast.
"This will be the first house that we would have re-built from the ground up from the tornado," said Sheila Varnado, executive director of R3SM. "Now, we did some re-building after Katrina, but we haven't done (any re-building from the tornado). And all the work we've done thus far this year has been repair work, but this will be the first re-build," she said. She added, "And we've got a total of nine re-builds approved, so we've got eight more houses to tackle after we get this first one up," she said.
And Varnado said restoration is 99 percent complete on the century-old, Volunteer House on Buschman Street. She said one last room is almost restored.
It's already housed dozens of out-of-state volunteers who've come to Hattiesburg to help disaster victims.