Hattiesburg relief organization opens new headquarters

A Hattiesburg relief organization opened a new headquarters Thursday.

The R3SM relief organization opened a new headquarters in downtown Hattiesburg after having a busy year helping those affected by the February 10 tornado.

"We started working immediately with FEMA and MEMA when they were in the area, and then when they left we just continued where they had stopped," said Executive Director Sheila Varnado. "115 cases approved, 35 house already repaired. Those are things that would be unheard of if you didn't already have an existing agency."

Their ability to continue rebuilding is because of the many volunteers. Now that they have a headquarter, volunteers have a place to lodge so they can fully invest in the work they come to do.

"Because we were here, this community was able to rebound a whole lot faster because we already had people who knew what to do and how to do it," said Varnado. "As we close out this year, I could have never imagined that it would be this kind of year, but I'm just thankful that we were here and that we were able to do what we do best."

Of the 115 recovery cases approved, 10 of those began from the ground up in the coming weeks, the first of those 10 will go from flat land to a home again.

"These families do need the communities help. We stand ready to do what we can do, but we cannot do it alone," said Varnado.

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