Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 15, 2013

Church members build sheds for tornado victims

More than 100 work on project to aid Moore, Okla.

The Independent

RUSSELL — The sound of dozens of hammers striking nails in unison echoed along Diederich Boulevard Saturday, sounding a bit like tribal drums.

It was the sound of church members banding together to assist those in dire need.

The din was coming from the parking lot of Bridges Christian Church, where more than 100 volunteers gathered to build storage sheds for the victims of the devastating EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Okla., and adjacent areas the afternoon of May 20.

The project was done under the auspices of Crossroads Missions, a Louisville-based group that normally builds houses, and International Disaster Emergency Services.

Bridges members didn’t build entire sheds, but rather the components for them, namely the walls and floor frames. The components were loaded on to a semi and trucked to Oklahoma, where they will be assembled on site, said Jeff Greene, whose brother-in-law, Kit Gentis, is working in Moore for IDES. Greene, who was sporting a red IDES T-shirt, said he was representing the organization at Saturday’s work site.

Volunteers put together enough components to assemble 21 sheds, Greene said. All the lumber was precut the night before, so all the assembly crews had to do was grab the plans for whatever they were building, along with the necessary pieces of wood, and nail them together, he said.

Brian Gioe, the on-site coordinator for Crossroads Missions, said he was extremely pleased with both the turnout for Saturday’s event and with the way everything went.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “I figured we’d be here until 12 or 12:20 at least. But here it is 11:30 and we’re basically done.”

Gioe said Crossroads oversees about 50 events a year, “but this is the first shed build we’ve done.” The reason the group opted to do it, he said, was that disaster relief groups have found what tornado victims need most is places to store their belongings while they work with insurance companies and others to get back into their homes.

“It kind of gives them a starting point,” he said.

Kai Blankenship, 25, who worked on their project with her mother, Kim, and father, Ed, said it felt good knowing the fruits of her labor would be going to help those who are experiencing extreme hardship.

“You can learn a lot about yourself by helping others,” she said.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.