Students Help Rebuild

Students visit Joplin, Mo. to aid tornado reconstruction efforts

During spring break, 16 University of Redlands students headed to Missouri for reconstruction efforts in the town of Joplin, heavily damaged by a powerful tornado on May 22, 2011.

Students Jacqueleen Balderas, Johnathan Byron, Casey DeWolf-Domingo, Joseph DiMartino, Barbara Hernandez, Margaret Jennings, Chad Lopez, Britney Lovell, Gabriella Machal, Dalton Meade, Morgan Myers, Andrew Pavlov, Madeline Phillips, Cara Swearingen, Alexandra Taylor and Karina Wright all participated in the relief efforts. As a group, they logged more than 880 community service hours during their eight-day stay.

"The Joplin trip was a truly amazing and humbling experience," said Britney Lovell '12. "We had an overwhelming and embracing response from the community."

"I can't imagine having my home destroyed and living in a FEMA trailer but I know we made some lives a bit easier by helping them move into their new homes," said Jacque Balderas '13. "I wish we had even more time to help the people of Joplin."

Community Service Learning staff members Hillary Chambers, Michael Jarrous and Erin Sanborn also accompanied the students to Joplin.

"The more we looked at it, the more it seemed like Joplin was the best choice to visit," said Erin Sanborn, associate director of Community Service Learning. "I think we made a difference in people's lives and we saw people come together as a result of this tragedy."

Students contributed to rebuilding 25 different homes. Jobs included painting, framing, moving, demolition, siding, planting trees, roofing, debris removal, brick work, window framing and appliance installation.

"We spent our spring breaks doing something a lot of people our age don't usually choose to do. I think it's only right," said Karina Wright '12. "We heard personal stories of people going out in their own cars and trucks right after the tornado to pick up injured people to take them to the hospital. People helping each other in those kinds of circumstances amazes me."


Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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