FSU students help tornado victim rebuild

By Megan Walsh

This tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011.

On March 18, 2011 Fitchburg State University sent 22 students and two faculty advisors to Silverhill, Alabama to help Beth Lawrence rebuild her home after it had been destroyed by a tornado two weeks earlier.  Lawrence, whose family has owned the home since 1974, had been forced to cancel her wind insurance six months prior due to a drastic increase in price.

The group of students worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. taking down panels, dry wall, insulation and siding. They also cleaned up the yard, and built a temporary tarp roof to prevent black mold from growing in her home.

“I almost sold my house 6 months ago when I canceled my wind insurance,” said Lawrence, “but I decided to hold off and I am really happy that I did because a family could have been in the house when the tornado hit and could have really hurt someone and they would have lost everything.” 

Luckily Beth, who had previously volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, knew Cliff Barros, the head of the organization of Baldwin County Affiliate. When Barros heard about her home, he came together with a local church to help her rebuild.

Ryan Jones, one of the students to work on the house, said, “This is all so crazy. I am so happy we got the chance to help her.”


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