Organization rebuilds storm damaged homes for free

Published: Feb. 23, 2012 at 1:25 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 21, 2012 at 8:48 PM CDT
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Brethren Disaster Ministries helps rebuild an Arab woman's home damaged by last years tornadoes...
Brethren Disaster Ministries helps rebuild an Arab woman's home damaged by last years tornadoes free of charge.

It's been almost a year since the April 27 tornadoes and some families are still trying to rebuild from the damage. One organization is helping one woman do just that. Brethren Disaster Ministries is rebuilding 79-year-old Hazel Ralph's Arab home for free.

Tony Ralph is helping Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuild his mother's home while she's in Birmingham.

"We never could have done all of this by ourselves. We could have done something but we never would have been able to do all of this. It's greatly appreciated," said Ralph.

The volunteer based group has been working for weeks to build the home from the ground up. Ralph says it was completely destroyed during the tornado and he and his family were very blessed for people to help him rebuild.

"It's a whole lot better now," Ralph said. "We are rebuilding but that day wasn't a really good day.  My brother, mother and I we rode the storm out in the house and we were lucky."

Construction site leader Jeff Bruens said he's blessing a family by working on the home, but the volunteers are the ones who are ultimately blessed.

"It's sad when things happen like this to people," Bruens said. "But it's strange because disasters bring out the best in people and we are all at our best when we are doing something for somebody else."

Bruens said Brethren Disaster Ministries will stay in the area until their work is done. That could mean six more months of rebuilding homes. The Ralph home will have a built in safe room as well.

"The next time a tornado happens if it does the people have a safe place to go so that's important and I believe they are required," Bruens said.

Volunteers for Brethren Disaster Ministries come from all over the county. They have sites in Haiti, Virginia, and Tennessee where they are repairing damage from natural disasters.

More for information on Brethren Disaster Ministries visit

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