Left to right: Josh Weber, Dan Weber, Kim Johnstone, Leia Johnstone, Mario Gomez, Kristy Pope, Asha Ramesh. Photo provided by Dan Weber.
Multiple volunteer crews from Frisco and The Colony served in Dallas, Richardson, and the surrounding area this past week to help those in need following the tornados that tore through the area on Sunday, October 20.
Two weeks after the destruction occurred, much work remains to be done. “Building drywall, insulation, and ceiling tiles were soaked into muddy glops on the floor,” described Jeremy Curtis of the devastation he saw while volunteering in Dallas. Mr. Curtis, a member of the Frisco 4th congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, volunteered as a member of one of several crews put together by the Church.
Brian Guinn, a crew captain of a volunteer crew made up of members of the Frisco 1st congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ, shared, “The after-effects of a tornado are shocking to see. The roofs and building materials from surrounding industrial buildings were scattered and tree limbs were down everywhere.”
One of the crews helped a gentleman named Manuel, who only had enough time to put his arms around his wife and two grandsons and huddle in the corner of their home as the storm hit. The pressure of the storm pushed their queen bed over on top of them, with the mattress miraculously protecting them.
Jill Chapin shared what she saw when they finished helping Manuel in Dallas and then went to serve in Richardson in an area among the hardest hit. “We were dumbstruck by the amount of destruction that is still there. Most of the homes are going to be totally demolished and rebuilt from scratch. The tornado that hit there was absolutely catastrophic.” A mattress stuck in a tree was a clear indicator to them of the storm’s strength.
Grant Chapin, age 12, joined his mom and other volunteers in the effort and expressed his feelings about his experience by stating, “Working increased by awareness of the community that is right here around us that needs our help. It also increased my gratitude that we were so close to the tornado, yet none of us were harmed. It was humbling to know how blessed we are to have been protected and amazing that there were no casualties.”
Mrs. Chapin also shared, “They say many hands make light work, and it’s very true. But many willing and eager hands make it even lighter.”
These volunteers from the Frisco and The Colony served as part of the Mormon Helping Hands program. This program brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ and their neighbors to provide community service. Volunteers wear their trademark yellow shirts as they help people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.