City fire trucks damaged in accident

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 05:01 PM.

Moore said she had been on the phone with county and state officials, and everyone she talked to said they had nothing to do with her ditch problems.

“We can get someone out there,” Councilman Tray Hawkins said. “We can clean the ditch for you.”

Ben Tarpley of Live Oaks, Fla., founder of the volunteer group Hammers and Hearts, reported to the council that his group, along with Catholic Charities and the Northwest Florida Baptist Association and the Methodist churches were beginning to organize work parties to help repair people’s homes.

“The infrastructure was declared an emergency by FEMA, but people’s homes were not,” Tarpley said. The church volunteers are on hand to help the city residents with work. About 100 people have requested assistance from the volunteers, Mayor Michelle Cook said. Tarpley said the group is working on raising funds and organizing work parties.

“Hammers and Hearts began in Joplin, Mo., when that town was wiped out by a tornado,” Tarpley said. “The disaster you folks here have is just as devastating to your residents, but it isn’t as dramatic as a tornado.” Once the water goes away, so does the media attention, but people are left with homes to rebuild.

The volunteers work on private properties, but will not work to rebuild rental properties, Tarpley said.

People interested in volunteering to help Hammers and Hearts with cleaning and construction should call Tarpley at 478-258-7585.

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