Tornado Homes Almost Ready for Dedication

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By Stephanie Tyrpak

BROOKPORT -- The first homes rebuilt through the Massac and Pope County Recovery Committee will be dedicated this weekend. Their plan has been to construct and repair dozens of homes impacted by the November 17th tornado.

Three families are getting ready to move into their new homes, and they're hoping even more volunteers will keep that good work moving forward.

A journey of more than 900 miles started with a story.

"That it was a bad, bad tornado, and it destroyed a lot people's homes," said volunteer Dominique Tantorieas. 

Tantorieas is part a volunteer group traveled from Camden, New Jersey all the way Brookport to spend one week building houses. They raised money to pay for their trip and hope to make good progress over the next several days.

"Just to see at least this house, the owner of this house, smile when we show him that it's finished," said Tantorieas. 

The home is one of three that is nearly complete. Those houses will be part of the Massac and Pope County Recovery Committee dedication ceremony on Saturday.

"They didn't have much, and when the tornado left, they didn't have anything," said MPCRC Construction Supervisor Eddie Osburn. "Now, they've got a brand new house."

Caseworkers meet with tornado victims and let the committee know about their needs. That's when Osburn gets working on the plans. Since January, 10 houses have started to take shape.

"When we needed an electrician, the good Lord sent us an electrician," said Osburn. "When we needed a plumber, He sent us a plumber."

Volunteers have been a big part of the process and cut about half off the cost to build a home.

The goal is to construct more than 20 houses and repair another 30 before the project is done. It's a tall order that Osburn believes is worth all the time and labor.

"You can't imagine until you experience the feeling you get," said Osburn. "When you take somebody that hasn't got anything, and you give him a house."

The dedication on Saturday is at 1 p.m. They ceremony will start at a house on Short Street.

The committee is always looking for more volunteer. If you would like to pitch in, contact Mt. Sterling Cumberland Presbyterian Church Pastor David LeNeave at 618-564-2616.

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