Church volunteers respond to assist in tornado cleanup
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On May 7, 2011, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsored a massive volunteer project to help the people of Birmingham and Tennessee who were hit by many tornadoes. More than1,500 volunteers came from the greater Atlanta, Birmingham and other surrounding areas.
One of the command centers was at the stake center located at 2780 Altadena Road, Birmingham, Ala. Tyler Wright from the Birmingham 1st Ward was stationed at the command center where there was posted a map on which green dots showed families who needed help.
The house of one of his neighbors, Paul Norton, was damaged extensively when a tornado took off its roof and left it almost inhabitable. About 25 LDS volunteers came to clean up Paul's house.
Paul was very impressed, and said that he has never seen such a wonderful group people who just wanted to help and get nothing in return. Paul also said: "I feel really good about the Mormons. Now I have a lot more respect for the LDS people and my neighbor John Thornton." Paul's wife and dog survived the tornado.
One of the LDS helpers was Darryl Henry, a new member of the Church in the Paper Mill Ward, Roswell Georgia Stake. Darryl was baptized in January this year. He said that helping the tornado victims made him feel good inside and also very humble. "I am so grateful to be able to help others," said Darryl. "I have never done anything like this in my entire life."
Another victim was Ms. Collins, is a single mom who lives alone with her daughter. A tornado hit her house. She has no money or means to clean up. Team leader Don Hansen came with over 45 volunteers from the Milton Ward. In one hour, the volunteers were able to clean up Ms. Collins backyard.