Volunteers making life better for disaster victims - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volunteers making life better for disaster victims

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by John Wilmer

PARKERSBURG(KWWL) -- People from all over the country are making Iowa their summer destination, not for a vacation, but to help disaster victims rebuild their lives.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been coordinating the volunteers, the group working this week is made up of around 50 people, coming from Dubuque and as far away Pennsylvania. While these disasters happened a year ago there is still a lot of work to be done.

Ron Smith's home in Parkersburg did not feel the full impact of the EF5 tornado last year, but that doesn't disqualify him from receiving help. Several big hearted neighbors started this project now volunteers from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance are helping to finish it.

"One thing led to another and suddenly I got siding sitting in my front yard and windows sitting in the neighbor's garage and anew fence going in. I don't know how to make any of this right," said Smith.

"Our job in Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is to help the people recover to where they were before the disaster so when the tornado hit that's a little bit difficult because people have a new home and things, but we just want them to be able to have their life back," Disaster Coordinator, Kaylene Hoskins said.

This group is working on several projects around the community including a new home on 4th Street and all of their hard work is being recognized.

"I've said lots of prayers over the last few years to find anyway to make this old house a little bit better and suddenly God's angels show up and start tearing siding off and the front porch... Oh my goodness," said Smith.

Walter Mack came all the way from Johnstown Pennsylvania to lend his hammer and skills.

"I think its fun for one and of course you always get the reward and satisfaction knowing you helped other people out," said Mack.

"I'm not sure I've got the words to express how deeply I love every person standing here swinging a hammer and trying to make my world a little better," Smith said.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is still looking for volunteers for this summer. Also neighbors say the money used to buy supplies for Ron Smith's home is running out. If you would like to donate to this project you can contact Greg and Melodie McLean of Parkersburg.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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