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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • COAD seeking volunteers, donations to rebuild homes

  • Just because the exteriors of homes affected by this August's massive flood in Pulaski County look to be in good shape, that does not mean the insides of some of those homes are even close to being in livable condition.
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  • Just because the exteriors of homes affected by this August's massive flood in Pulaski County look to be in good shape, that does not mean the insides of some of those homes are even close to being in livable condition.
    "People can have short-term memories," said Michelle Horne, volunteer coordinator for the ‪Pulaski County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD).‬
    "Homes may appear cleaned up from the outside, but they are not inside."
    In fact, according to Mike Guiles, construction manager for the COAD's Longterm Recovery Committee, there are about 75 homes that will require assistance in the rebuilding process from the COAD.
    These fixes won't come cheaply, either, according to Guiles.
    "Right now, a conservative estimate for all of the building materials would be about $300,000," he said.
    "And that's just for the building materials. We have a large shortfall and need help from the community."
    Horne said a COAD is "a community organization made up of representatives from public, private, volunteer, faith-based and non-profit agencies and organizations who may be active in all phases of the disaster."‬
    The Pulaski County COAD was on the ground right after the August flooding, helping clean, spray for mold and assisting flood victims however possible.
    Now that the cleaning stage is finished, it is time for the homes affected to be reconstructed and brought back livable conditions, according to Horne.
    Horne said the COAD recently received a grant for almost $8,000 from the Meramec Regional Community Foundation to help with the construction efforts.
    They also received two tractor trailers full of sheet rock and other building supplies from the Convoy of Hope organization, and recently received $300 from the City of Waynesville for tools.
    On top of that, Horne said there have been several other "local heroes," including Shaun Collins, who has worked on the relief efforts since the beginning, and even took out and trained groups of Maries to also assist.
    Mike Gerber was another person mentioned by Horne.
    "He's letting us use 10,000 feet of storage space for the next year, and that's huge," she said.
    "There have been a lot of people and organizations here who have made a great difference."
    However, even though both Horne and Guiles agrees that there were several people who have made a difference, they said there is still much work left to do and funds to be raised and donated in order to get the 75 homes livable and the $300,000 of funds that will be needed.
    On top of raising funds, which Guiles said is vital in the COAD's efforts, he said the organization also needs manpower and tools.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We'd love to have help from some skilled laborers. We need people for painting, flooring, electrical, drywalls, pretty much everything," he explained.
    Even if people aren't skilled laborers, though, Guiles said the COAD could find a place for them.
    Guiles said he needs teams of volunteers to help with the ongoing projects.
    "The teams can be any groups or organizations," he said. "Or it could even just be five buddies that just have down time. There's plenty of work that needs to be done on all skill levels.
    "The biggest thing is that we need people with hearts who want to help."
    He said if there are individuals that want to volunteer, that is fine, too.
    "I don't care if it's teams or individuals we form into teams," he said.
    He said all of the teams who have assisted so far have been from out of town, and he wants to see neighbors helping neighbors, too.
    "Someone can he a missionary in his or her own town," he said. "People can save the $2,500 plane ticket to go overseas and use it to help right here."
    Guiles said he would also like to encourage more Pulaski County churches to find ways to assist.
    "Only seven out of the 160 churches in the Pulaski County area have assisted the COAD and its efforts so far," he explained. "We keep having to call on those same churches over and over again. We appreciate their assistance, but would encourage other churches to also help in the efforts."
    Guiles said the COAD is also looking for groups or individuals to help feed the volunteer contraction teams.
    The COAD would also like to partner with more local businesses on fundraising efforts, he said.
    So, how long may it be before flood victims can return to their lives as they were before the flood?
    "We'd like to see everything finished in a year, but rebuilding after disasters like this can take a long time, especially with skeleton crews or no crews," Guiles said. "One lady will need to have her entire house rebuilt, and many others are also in dire condition."
    To contact the COAD about volunteering or donating, ‪or to learn anything else about the COAD, email pulaskicoad@gmail, or call 573-337-2286.‬
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