HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg family who lost their home in the Feb. 2013 tornado now has a new place to live on the site of their former residence, thanks to Hattiesburg's R3SM and dozens of volunteers from around the country.
The McDonald home on E. 6th St. is the first tornado-damaged home to be completely rebuilt by Recover, Rebuild and Restore of Southeast Mississippi. That's a long term disaster recovery organization founded after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
R3SM has repaired more than 400 houses and built 15 new homes which were damaged or destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Isaac.
"When you're in the line of work, you've got to be passionate about what you do and every time to see the finished product, it's very rewarding as an individual and on a personal note," said Demetria Simpson, executive director of R3SM.
"It feels great, words cannot describe it," said Felecia Bell, daughter of homeowner Mattie McDonald. "It's just awesome, it's awesome to be (back in the home)," she said.
Volunteers even planted a new magnolia tree in the front yard of the McDonald home to replace one that was lost to the twister.