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Church damaged in tornado salvages what they can

From the road it looked like there was just minor damage, but when structural engineers checked out the Faith Assembly of God church in Joplin after the May 22 tornado they determined it had to come down.

Today was the first step in rebuilding:  Demolition day.

“There’s certainly emotion involved but we understand that in order to take the next step we have to take this step first,” says Ron Cannon, an associate pastor for the church.

More than 150 Service International volunteers worked to clear out salvageable items and demolish the building.  Volunteers from all over the United States travel just to work with the organization.

“Whether it’s a church, whether it’s an individual home, we do it to honor God,” says Service International Director Darrel Vaughan.  “On our shirts we have ‘Honor God. Help people.’ And that’s how we honor our Lord.”

“It not only helps us to know people love and care about us as a congregation and as a community but it certainly saves us time (and) it saves us money,” says Cannon.

Those savings are in the tens-of-thousands-of-dollars.

Cannon says there are plans to rebuild, but church leaders and the congregation must decide where.

“After insurance settlements and all have gone through and all of those decisions have been made – we are definitely rebuilding,” Cannon says.

Cannon also says the church had been at the location since 1960 and that the demolition is bittersweet.

With the help of volunteers the church is able to begin the rebuilding process.

Cannon says the process has been fairly smooth when dealing with the insurance and obtaining demolition permits.  He says they had to take their time to be sure they saved everything they could.

Salvaged items will be donated to other churches.


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