Windy City volunteers rebuild tornado-damaged homes in Pine Belt

Chicago volunteers help rebuild Pine Belt homes

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Nearly three dozen volunteers from the Chicago area have been in the Pine Belt this week, helping to repair and rebuild homes damaged in the January 2017 tornado.

The volunteers are from two Lutheran churches near Chicago.

They’ve been working on storm-damaged homes in Petal and Hattiesburg since Monday.

Two of the houses they’re helping to rebuild are on Bennett Street in Petal.

Others having work done are on Edwards and Putnam streets in Hattiesburg.

“We’re forever grateful to our volunteers, they have a special place in our heart and without them, we couldn’t be where we are today,” said Mavis Creagh, executive director for R3SM (Recover, Rebuild Restore South Mississippi), which is coordinating the volunteer effort.

“There is a local community here in the United States that needed support and needed to get people back in their homes, it’s been two years, it’s time,” said Lynn Marinelli, a volunteer from Bartlett, Illinois.

Creagh says many volunteers have come to Hattiesburg to assist with the rebuilding and much has been accomplished. But, she says more needs to be done.

“We have 28 new constructions that have almost been complete, but we have two more that we’re trying to get funding and volunteers for," said Creagh.

The Chicago-area volunteers will wrap up their work in the Pine Belt Friday.

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