Woodward, Okla. —
As new homes are going up in the areas that were hardest hit by the April 15 tornado, Recovery Woodward is entering into a secondary phase in the type of assistance it offers tornado victims.
Recovery Woodward is an organization that was formed following the tornado to help coordinate assistance for disaster victims.
Initially the organization's efforts centered around meeting victims' immediate needs for things such as housing and transportation.
"Now we feel like we've gotten a hold of everyone who didn't have housing and needed housing and gotten them help. We've met most of the immediate needs and now we can move onto the next phase," said Becky Pierson, vice chair of Recovery Woodward.
The next phase is becoming active in the rebuilding efforts, Pierson said.
She said one of her roles as vice chair of Recovery Woodward is to coordinate volunteers to assist in the rebuilding process.
So this past Saturday, Pierson, who is also a pastor at New Horizon United Methodist Church in Woodward, gathered other members from several area Methodist churches to help with construction on a home in the 2900 block of Osage Dr.
"These are all Methodists from churches in Laverne and Shattuck as well as the First United Methodist and New Horizon churches here in town," Pierson said.
As the framing on the home had already been completed, the group of about a dozen volunteers worked to install insulation and put up sheetrock on the walls and ceilings.
Homeowners Luis and Lupe Garcia said they were thankful for the extra sets of helping hands as they have been trying to do much of the work on the house themselves to save money.
The couple, who have 2 young sons, said that the process to rebuild their home from the ground up after it was demolished by the tornado has been "pretty slow" and often stressful.
But the work done by volunteers on Saturday will help to move the project that much further along for the Garcia family who are all too eager to return to their home.
"We really appreciate them coming to help," Luis Garcia said.
Pierson said that the reason Recovery Woodward was able to help the Garcias is simply because someone contacted the group to let them know the family needed help.
"Somebody did what we've been asking them to do," she said, noting "We've said all along if you have a need or know of a need, then call it in and we'll do what we can to try to meet that need. Here somebody saw a need and contacted us."
In the case of the Garcia family, Pierson said they didn't have any immediate needs because they were able to find temporary housing.
"But they want to move back here," she told The News at the project site Saturday. "We learned that Luis was in a bind and needed a little extra help because he was doing a lot of the work himself, so here we are."
Pierson said that Saturday's work day is hopefully the first of many as Recovery Woodward plans on reaching out to the public to find more volunteers to help to rebuild more houses.
"If you or your organization would like to volunteer to help when we have future work days, then send us an e-mail or call me," she said.
When sending an e-mail or calling, Pierson said be sure to "let me know what your skill set is; tell me what you or your group is good at. We need people who can say, 'hey, I can swing a hammer,' or 'I may not be able to swing a hammer, but I can pick up supplies or lunch for the workers.'"
Whatever way people are able to help will be appreciated, she said.
For example, she noted that Gray Wireline did it's part to help with Saturday's work day at the Garcia home by buying lunch for the volunteers.
To reach Pierson by phone, call (580) 571-1694. Or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tornado victims needing assistance can also send e-mails detailing their needs to the same address or call the Recovery Woodward organization at (580) 256-2674.