Volunteers to rebuild home destroyed by tornado

Published 8:00 am Friday, September 22, 2023

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NORTH WEST POINT — Six months to the day an EF-3 tornado touched down north of West Point and caused massive damage, work will be taking place to  replace one of the homes that was destroyed with a new one. Approximately 40 volunteers with Carpenters for Christ will be on Smith Street building a new home for Mary Ann Smith. The daughter of a former West Point chief of police, Smith lost her home in the tornado and has since been living temporarily in a utility building on the lot.

The Carpenters for Christ group will be there on Friday, Sept. 29th and Saturday, Sept. 30th putting up new walls and getting a new home dried in by Saturday. Most of the volunteers doing the work are from the Valley, Tallassee, Wetumpka and Fort Payne, Alabama.

The Carpenters for Christ is a nonprofit organization that builds churches and other projects across the U.S. It’s an organization of men who strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. Their theme is Hebrews 3:4 – “Every house his built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.”

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Valley resident Phillip Sparks will be taking part in the West Point project. “I have been active in Carpenters for Christ for the past 18 years,” he told The Valley Times-News. “I have really enjoyed it. I  have been involved in 18 different projects in 18 years. You learn carpentry skills along the way but mostly it’s being with new friends you have made along the way, people you see that one time during the year.”

Sparks has been twice to projects in Oklahoma, once in Kansas and other times in places like Dublin, Georgia and Midland City, Alabama.

The upcoming Carpenters of Christ project will join a number of other rebuilding efforts that are taking place north of the city. Cleanup work was under way Thursday at the West Point Motel, where owner Danny Patel intends to build back. The roof areas of the motel were blown away by the March 29th tornado, but the wall structure of the buildings was largely left intact. New pitched roofs will be going in to replace what was there before. For the past six months, blue tarps have been covering the two damaged units.

A new concrete foundation has been laid for a new building to replace what was lost at Bethel Baptist Church. A number of nearby homeowners have replaced damaged roofs to their homes. The sounds of hammering and electric saws are frequently heard in the area as people are building back.

The EF-3 tornado that touched down in the community in late March caused massive damage. An estimated 100 homes received some kind of damage, and up to 30 houses were completely destroyed. It’s a major miracle that no one was killed or seriously injured. In some cases, houses fell in on people who were inside when the massive tornado roared through in the early morning hours.