MARYSVILLE, Ind. – More than 50 volunteers, faith leaders, builders from across Indiana, plus homeowners and neighbors jammed into the new home of Joe and Jamie Stewart Oct. 9, in Marysville to dedicate their house.

The faith-based volunteer partnership known as Volunteers Rebuilding Our Community (V-ROC) celebrated this fourteenth and final home built by V-ROC to replace homes lost by area residents during the deadly March 2, 2012, tornado that ripped a 40-mile path across southern Indiana.

The 1,200-square-foot house replaced the house the Stewarts lost. It was built by the Stewarts and more than 200 volunteers from across the United States.

The dedication was sponsored by the Salvation Army of New Albany and led by Major Stephen Kiger. Other V-ROC speakers included: the Rev. Jim Byerly of the Indiana United Methodist Conference Disaster Response Team, Ross Knecht of the Country Lake Christian Retreat Center, Kevin Cox of Hope Crisis Response Network and Jerry Larsen, Salvation Army state disaster coordinator.

During the half-hour service, homeowner Joe Stewart said, “It’s been nothing but a miracle. We didn’t think we were coming back here. If you could peel back the walls, you would find lots of Bible verses written on the rafters.”

V-ROC also presented a Bible, wooden cross, homemade quilt signed by volunteers and keys to the house. This project ends United Methodists’ 19-month recovery effort in southern Indiana. Also present for the dedication was Indiana Conference Volunteers In Mission Coordinator Beth McDaniel, who spent many hours assigning UM VIMs to work projects across the area.

Since March 2, 2012

Since the Southern Indiana-Henryville Tornado Disaster in March 2012, the Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team has been quite busy in disaster response, mainly around the Southern Indiana tornado disaster response, as well as some North Central Indiana flooding. During a response with other faith-groups, the Indiana Conference Disaster Response Team is known as the United Methodist Committee on Relief in Indiana and acts as an extension and partner with United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) based in New York City.

Following the devastating tornados of March 2, 2012, the faith-based volunteer partnership, Volunteers Rebuilding Our Community (V-ROC), was formed to address the long-term needs of those families in the Southern Indiana area affected by the deadly storm. This volunteer effort worked primarily with families and homeowners who were either under-insured or had no insurance at all.

In the past 20 months, the group, composed of Country Lake Christian Center, Hope Crisis Response Network, The Salvation Army and the United Methodist Committee on Relief in Indiana, has succeeded in completing 14 completely built homes and was involved in providing for the repair of another 267 properties. Through this faith-based volunteer effort, more than 141,000 hours of work valued at more than $3.1 million in time was given.

100 percent

One-hundred percent of all funds received by the Indiana Conference for disaster relief goes for disaster relief to support both residents surviving disasters, as well as support services to assist volunteers in helping survivors. No part of these funds is used for conference administration.

During 2012, $283,000 was given for disaster recovery in Southern Indiana.

So far during 2013, another $166,500 was given for disaster recovery for Southern Indiana, Central Indiana (Kokomo Urban Outreach for flood recovery) and to the Sierra Leone Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church for recovery from a fire that heavily damaged the Sierra Leone Conference Center in Freetown.

In addition to these grants and our conference’s assists in coordinating volunteers for both Early Response Teams and Volunteers In Mission teams to disaster areas, The team also provided two ERT Training events and two VIM-Leader Training events, and hired a part-time employee to recruit up to 100 new ERT volunteers in each of the conference’s ten districts during the next year.

“It’s been nothing but a miracle.”

– Homeowner Joe Stewart

V-ROCs 14th and final house was dedicated in Marysville, Ind., Oct. 9.

V-ROC by the numbers through Sept. 2013

  • 281 Projects Completed
  • 10,235 Volunteers through Volunteers ROC/Country Lake Retreat Center
  • 141,621 Volunteer Hours
  • $3.1 million Value of In-Kind Hours (National Average $ 22.14)
  • Completed projection date Oct. 9, 2013