The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 26, 2011

350 to 400 volunteers coming to Limestone to rebuild tornado-damaged homes

By Jean Cole

ATHENS — A hearty band of volunteers is coming to Limestone and Madison counties in July 2012 to help rebuild homes destroyed by the April 27 tornadoes.

A group from Mission Serve, a faith-based nonprofit group from Cummings, Ga., and the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief will be here July 7 through 14.

“We’re excited,” said Project Coordinator Jeremy Jones. “It’s amazing what you can do with a few students and a few dollars.”

Jones expects to bring 350 to 400 people on the mission, including student volunteers, staff, a band, a speaker, and construction captains who will each supervise groups of 10 to 12 students to renovate about 30 homes. 

Construction Coordinator Kyle Jeffreys is already assessing homes in the area to determine which ones need repairs, ranging from a new roof to more extensive repairs, Jones said.

The students can do roofing, siding, painting, deck building and other repairs, he said.

Keith Turberville, agri-science teacher at Tanner High School, recently received permission from the Limestone County school board to use classrooms, a gymnasium and the cafeteria at Tanner as the group’s home base during the week. 

“Their goal is to improve substandard housing all over the United States, but they want to help with tornado recovery in Limestone, Madison and Eclectic because of the tornadoes,” Turberville said.

The group will arrive Saturday, July 7, attend church services Sunday, work on houses Monday through Friday, and leave Saturday, July 14. Each crewmember pays $260 to participate in the mission. They will be fed breakfast and supper at the school, with local churches providing their lunches. The project coordinator will be Jeremy Jones and the construction coordinator will be Kyle Jeffreys.

“They plan to sleep in the classrooms and worship in the gym, and the Alabama Baptist Association will provide shower trailers for them,” Turberville said.

Board President Earl Glaze said he was amenable to the use of the school but he asked who would be responsible if anything was damaged.

Turberville said Mission Serve has a contract that shows it has liability insurance and he said they would be responsible for any damage.

Another Mission Serve group will help rebuild tornado-ravaged homes in Eclectic the following week in July.

Mission Serve has been partnering with churches and local governments for nine years to improve substandard housing. Its director, Andy Morris, is a graduate of the University of North Alabama in Florence.

The News Courier will provide stories and photographs of the groups as they repair homes here.

For more information on the project, go online to the Mission Serve website at, and click on 2012 Projects.