R3SM continuing help Pine Belt residents

Nonprofit working on house restoration
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 4:23 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - One Pine Belt resident is closer to reuniting with her home.

Carolyn Smith’s life story was rewritten in 2017 when a tornado ripped through parts of Hattiesburg--and destroyed her family’s home.

Now, Hattiesburg’s Recover, Rebuild and Restore Southeast Mississippi is stepping up to change the narrative for Smith and her family by working with volunteers from across the nation to rebuild her home.

“Volunteers are our foundation, our bread, and butter,” R3SM executive director Mavis A. Creagh said “We wouldn’t be able to have done the work exclusively from the 2017 tornado without our wonderful volunteers,” .

For the past six months, people from across the nation have traveled to the Pine Belt, lending a hand as the organization worked to complete the project.

The last set of volunteers were from Iowa.

The organization said volunteers are essential for successful projects.

“Volunteers will make the world go round,” said construction director Darrell Lewis. “Volunteers are a major part. You know, I mean, I can come and do only so much, but when I get people that come from out of state _ Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, from the north coming down _ and we have those from Kentucky and Alabama that’s coming, we can do so much.

“Besides the volunteers, this house would have never got here,”

Lewis says there isn’t a set date for the completion of Smith’s home.

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