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Associated Press
People gather at the Jamie and William Stewart home in Marysville. The home build was coordinated by volunteers after last year’s deadly tornado.

Southern Indiana group’s last tornado rebuild done

– A volunteer group started after last year’s deadly wave of tornado in southern Indiana has turned over the last of its rebuilt homes over to new owners.

Leaders of Volunteers Rebuilding Our Community gathered Wednesday at the three-bedroom house in the Clark County community of Marysville to present the keys to Jamie and William Stewart.

The home where they lived with their two sons was wrecked by the March 2012 storms that killed 14 people as they hit Henryville, Marysville and other rural communities in the area about 20 miles north of Louisville, Ky.

The family has been living at the home of Jamie Stewart’s mother since then, the News and Tribune reported.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, and there were a lot of times that I didn’t think we were coming back,” Jamie Stewart said. “I thought we were going to file bankruptcy and lose everything and have to start over with nothing. We got help to rebuild here, so that’s why we came back.”

The volunteer group is a partnership of four nonprofits formed to help uninsured and underinsured victims of the tornadoes.

The partnership donated $786,000 in cash and more than $3 million in labor and other in-kind contributions, which Salvation Army Maj. Stephen Kiger said enabled it to rebuild 14 houses and repair 267 homes.

About 18,000 volunteers took part in the recovery effort, said Kenneth Cox, of Hope Crisis Response.

“Nobody had all the money to do this project alone, so we collaborated,” Cox told the Courier-Journal.

Natalie Wells, director of community housing development with Hoosier Uplands, said her agency has some grant money remains available until the end of this year to help additional residents rebuild.

“I do still think it’s a need, but maybe they don’t realize there’s still resources out there,” Wells said.

Randy and Lori Coats, who attended Wednesday’s ceremony, said the volunteer group helped them get a new three-bedroom house after their uninsured mobile home was destroyed in the tornado.

“I owe so much to these people that there’s no way that we can repay everything that they’ve done,” Lori Coats said.

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