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franklin county times

VA church group helps PC rebuild

Members of the mission team from Windsor United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Va., were in Phil Campbell last week to help with relief projects. Front row L to R: John Pomeroy, Claudia Liechty, Pam Stokes, John Stokes, Vince Clinevell, Linda Plichta, Karen Saunders and Dave Tanis. Back row L to R: John Plichta, Jim Crook, Gary Saunders and Barry Thomas.

PHIL CAMPBELL – With the April 27 tornado outbreak taking place more than a year ago, it’s easy to forget that there are still people without homes and people who need significant repairs in order to get back into a home they’ve been without for 13 months.
Relief worker John Raimer, who serves as a volunteer coordinator and construction manager for relief projects in the area, has been volunteering his services in Phil Campbell since last June in order to help families recover from last year’s devastation.
With firsthand knowledge of how far the city still has on the road to recovery, Raimer said volunteers are as important now as they were the day after the storms.
“When all the hype dies down, people sometimes forget that there are still folks trying to put their lives back together around here,” he said. “Roofs need fixing, repairs need to be done – there’s a lot left for people to do here in Phil Campbell but we just don’t have the volunteers to get it all done.”
With that being the case, Raimer was glad last week to welcome a mission team from Windsor United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Va.
The group is being coordinated through the Presbyterians of North Alabama and they’re being housed by First Presbyterian Church in Sheffield.
Gene Hamby, who is a member of FPC in Sheffield and has coordinated the trip locally, said the group has been so helpful ever since they arrived in the area on May 20.
“This is a great group of people and we are thankful for their willingness to come and help with the relief efforts here,” Hamby said. “They have helped in other disaster situations and are very skilled at what they do.”
Raimer agreed. He said by the time the group left this past Saturday, they would have completed five different projects.
“This group will have helped two families get back in their homes and they will complete three other repair projects on other homes,” Raimer said. “That’s just exciting to think of the impact their efforts have made.”
Linda Plichta, a member of the mission team, said their group completes one mission project each year and they had previously served for five years in New Orleans and Slidell, La., following the devastation from Hurricane Katrina.
After work dried up where they were working, Plichta said Vince Clinevell, who served as the group leader for the Roanoke mission team, began to look for places in Alabama where they might be needed.
“I called the Alabama headquarters for Presbyterian Relief and told them that we wanted to come help,” Clinevell said. “I talked to several people who finally got us in contact with Gene Hamby who directed us to Phil Campbell.
“We didn’t even know Phil Campbell existed before this trip and now we’ve been here working on finishing out the siding on a mobile home, putting a metal roof on another, painting the inside of a mobile home and making other interior modifications. We’re just glad we could help out where we are needed.”