Victim of January 2017 tornado moves into new home

Victim of January 2017 tornado moves into new home
Hattiesburg woman receives the key to her new home. Photo credit WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Almost one year ago, homeowner Jennie Roberts thought she was going to die after her home was caught in the path of the January tornado.

"The top started falling in on us, so the sheet rock covered my head," Roberts said. "I said this is it, this is it."

Roberts was rescued by her son and her neighbor. Unfortunately, her home did not survive, but with the help of R3SM in partnership with Mennonite disaster services, her home is standing again.

"I just kept grinning to myself, I just couldn't stop laughing. I know the people thought I was crazy, but I was just so joyed, so joyed," Roberts said.

"Lord knows I feel good that he was in the plan, because I could've been dead and sleeping in my grave today, but he saved me," Roberts said. "I'm looking at all the people that I thought I would not get to see."

Mavis Creagh with R3SM said this is a responsibility that R3SM takes very seriously, and it feels good to help out.

"To see them in a state of hopelessness and helpfulness because they loss everything they had, and they didn't know what to do," Creagh said. "But, to see her now at the end of her journey with a new house, to have a renewed hope."

R3SM and Mennonite Disaster Services are working on over 20 houses in the Pine Belt, but volunteers are still needed.

"It's very important to keep the work ongoing that we have local people who plug in and still see that there's a need even after almost a year after the tornado," Creagh said.

For more on how you can get involved, you can contact R3SM by calling 601-544-5115. You can also see a list of partners by visiting