Friday, October 13, had been a long-awaited day for Tom Malott, a Missouri Baptist Relief volunteer from Doniphan, Missouri, and two homeowners who had their homes destroyed by an EF4 tornado that hit Hayti, Missouri, nearly two years ago. It was the day Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief could hand over the keys to two newly constructed homes that Malott and numerous MODR volunteers have been in the process of building through a partnership with the Red Cross since this past February.
MODR had previously provided chainsaw teams, debris cleanup, and numerous home repairs. However, when two homeowners without insurance lost their homes, Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief felt compelled to build them a new home from the ground up.
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Malott, who served as the construction coordinator. “So, it was a real blessing to take part in the home dedication and finally hand the keys over to the owners.”
While one house is around 1,500 square feet in size, the other home, built for a 61-year-old single veteran, is about 900 square feet in size.
“All total, we had nearly 100 volunteers assist during the course of the construction, with several of them coming back several times,” Malott added. “I don’t have the exact figures, but I figured we had around 3,000 or more manhours invested in the project, as well as around 100 hours of time on equipment.”
“I absolutely love the house,” said Penny Cook, one of the recipients of MODR’s efforts. “Who would have thought that 22 months after the tornado destroyed our old home that we would be moving into something like this?” she concluded. “Words cannot express what I feel and how grateful I am.”