On day two Jared, Marissa, Kerry, Matt, and I went to Dan’s house. He is a veteran that lost his house in the tornado. Before taking care of his own possessions, he made sure to check on all of his neighbors and helped them to remove their debris. His house did not seem far from being done. We learned how to drywall and mud. Sadly, we did not really get the chance to speak to Dan since he was outside running around most of the day.
Day three I was with the same crew and we were assigned to Eric’s house. We had the address and kept driving around the block wondering if we were given the wrong address. So we called Eric and asked which house was his. We had driven by it a few times and did not think it was a project since the front doors had signs saying “Keep Out” and “No Trespassing.” The house was in really bad shape. You could tell that there had not been a lot of work done to it since the tornado.
The city had given Eric a deadline to complete the outside of the house before they would condemn it. Eric seemed really surprised and relieved that he had help for the day. He felt bad because he did not have a lot of big tasks, only multiple little things to do. He seemed to be happy that we were willing to do whatever he needed. We got a tour of the inside of the house and it really gave us an insider’s view on what damage the tornado had done. You could see the broken glass, dirt swirls around the rooms, and light coming in through the walls from the outside. Throughout the day we picked up debris, mowed the lawn, painted the house, put up siding, did front porch masonry, built a frame around the lattice, and put up house numbers.
Eric was really cool. He told us about his career in the hair studio. He paints pictures and sells them through a museum and is currently working on writing a book about hair to sell to other salons. This house was his first home that he owned and had lived there for about five years. He had just finished remodeling the bathroom by the kitchen three weeks prior to the tornado hitting Joplin. He is currently living with his girlfriend on the other side of town. Once he completes the list of things to do before the deadline, he is going to take a break from the house to save up funds and fix the inside.
[Written by Rachel Gregory]