9th Pine Belt person receives new home

9th Pine Belt person receives new home
R3SM. Source: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi, Inc. (R3SM) in cooperation with the Mennonite Disaster Services and several other organizations and volunteers came together to rebuild the home of Hattiesburg resident Helen Smith, which was destroyed in the 2017 tornado.

Regional Operations Coordinator with the MDS Larry Stoner said anywhere there is a disaster and people are in need he is thankful for the opportunities they are given to make people happy.

"It gives the volunteers the opportunity to be able to help rebuild the houses, to help build brand new houses and so it is very satisfying," said Stoner.

The dedication involved songs and a prayer over the home before Smith signed the paperwork and was given the keys to her newly renovated home.

"I'm proud to be a part of a community that has such an open heart and welcoming arms," said R3SM Executive Director Mavis Creagh. "A lot of volunteers this is their second, third, and fourth time in our community within one or two years. So, that really speaks a lot about the way we make the people feel when they come into the community . It's not just about fixing the houses but connecting with the community."

Organizers said up to 20 more houses will be built.