'It's a blessing': Volunteers repair Meridian home damaged in 2018 tornado

Anne Snabes / The Meridian Star

Meridian homeowner Milton Grady discusses changes made to his house, which was badly damaged in the April 2018 tornado.

In April 2018, Milton Grady was at work when a tornado tore through Meridian, severely damaging his home. 

“There was a big tree like this here,” he recalled on Thursday. "And the limb like this here landed on my house, and that … tore my whole house up. It shifted the house a little bit, but they (the volunteers) got it back right.”

Over the last eight weeks, volunteers from different parts of the country converged on Meridian, using their skills to make much-needed repairs to Grady’s home.

“Now, I’m going to be so excited to get back in my house once they get through with it,” Grady said.

The volunteers are part of a ministry of the United Methodist Church called Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service. The project is close to completion, and the volunteers presented Grady with a Bible on Thursday.

The volunteers put new siding on the house, installed new windows, re-did the floor, painted the rooms and did other improvements. 

Mary Ann Coulter, a volunteer with NOMADS, has been working on the house for three weeks. She was not in Meridian when the project began, but has seen photos of the house at the start.

“To see the beginning and now to see this, it’s just amazing,” she said.

Coulter said NOMADS travel to different places in their RVs. The volunteers, many of whom are retired, do maintenance or other work on churches and church camps. They also rebuild or repair homes.

“It’s a blessing to us to do this,” she said. “It’s an absolutely wonderful life.”

Repairs on the house were funded by Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, United Methodist Committee on Relief and other sources, said Kim Waters, chairman and president of Partners in Recovery, a committee that was formed to address disasters in Lauderdale County.

'It's a blessing': Volunteers repair Meridian home damaged in 2018 tornado

Anne Snabes / The Meridian Star

NOMADS volunteer Gene Freeman presents Milton Grady with a Bible at a ceremony on Thursday. Freeman also read Scripture before presenting him with the Bible. 

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She said Partners in Recovery has facilitated 30 homes being repaired and one home being completely rebuilt.

'It's a blessing': Volunteers repair Meridian home damaged in 2018 tornado

Anne Snabes / The Meridian Star

Individuals do construction work in Milton Grady's kitchen. 

“We’re just thankful here in Lauderdale County that we’ve had numerous groups that have come and helped us out,” she said.

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