JOPLIN, Mo.-- Springfield's Convoy of Hope is going down a new avenue to help Joplin's tornado victims. The relief agency is helping building houses for families who lost their nest eggs and pensions in last summer's awful storm.
The home that was in Jackie Allen's family for forty years is only a memory. "The house was right here," says Allen. It's the place she and 9 year old Dylan called home, and where Jackie and her brother took cover. "We thought we'd make it to my brother's house just a few blocks away, with a storm shelter, but we looked outside and said it was too late. We just grabbed the pillows and ran to the bathtub and we rode it out.
It was a frantic half-hour before Allen learned nine year old Dylan rode out the storm safely with his dad in his car. "That was the hardest part; we couldn't get ahold of anybody," Allen says.
It was even tougher losing the un-insured home where Allen and her siblings grew up, with no way to rebuild. "It wasn't just a house," says Gina Brasel, Allen's sister.
Now, surveyors' stakes mark the spot where construction will soon begin. "We're really reaching out to home owners that fall between the cracks," says Jeff Nene of Convoy of Hope.
Monday morning, Allen helped break ground for her home and five others, made possible by the Convoy of Hope's Extreme Hope Fund. Nene says, "We come along side communities, and we give them what they need in those days following a disaster, and then we move on, but this one was different. This one was friends and family and our neighbors, and the people of America responded in such a strong way."