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Superstorm Sandy relief organization visits Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Superstorm Sandy relief organization visits Joplin for rebuilding pointers

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Joplin's recovery efforts have been so successful other cities are taking notice.

Joplin says more than a million volunteers have come to help rebuild after the EF-5 tornado cut through the city in May 2011.

Rebuild Joplin has developed a model for home construction that has allowed the group to rebuild more than 60 homes for tornado victims. Local group members say they're happy to share their disaster response plan with any organization interested in learning more.

Jack Oehm of the Tunnel To Towers Foundation says the 9/11 based organization aims to rebuild 200 homes in Staten Island lost to Superstorm Sandy.

"We just wanted to learn as much as we could because we're kind of new to this," says Oehm.  "We're a 9/11 foundation, we don't rebuild houses normally - under normal circumstances."

Oehm says they came to Joplin to learn from the best.

"Make the process a little smother, a little easier for our clients and to get people back in their homes sooner rather than later," says Oehm.

It's a process Rebuild Joplin knows all too well and with their own experiences streamlining the process through organizing volunteers to ensuring construction safety they say Tunnel To Towers will benefit from their trials and errors.

"When someone comes in our door in need they are guided through the entire process, and in the end they are back in their home," says Dorren Finnie, the Development Director for Rebuild Joplin.

Finnie says it takes a team effort between client, staff and volunteers to see the rebuilding process carry on until the very end.

"We see great strides being made but all of our people are not back in homes, and we will be here until they are," says Finnie.

With 100 volunteers ready and willing to help rebuild Staten Island, Oehm says he is ready to get home and start his own process.

"We've learned a lot so far, a wealth of knowledge, that these people have already done what we're trying to do up in New York," says Oehm.  "So we're going to learn the whole process and we are going to tweak it to make it work for New York."

Rebuild Joplin says they receive calls from organizations across the nation inquiring about their work, but that Tunnel To Towers is the first group to come down and see firsthand how it is done.

Oehm says Tunnel To Towers plans to start their rebuilding process in Staten Island on Monday.

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