NORMAN — Usually they do free cleanup work to assist residents who are dealing with tornado damage, but Mormon Helping Hands, a group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined forces with others recently to go a step beyond.
Porfirio Ochoa, the president of the Spanish speaking congregation in Norman, heard the voice of Vidal Romero, on KUTZ 106.7 Spanish radio, describing tornado damage to his small home.
“His roof had been blown off and he had no insurance,” said Ochoa, “So Joseph Datin and I came down to have a look. It looked like something we could help with. So I brought the idea to the meeting of our stake presidency and the bishoprics on Thursday. They approved and we started the work on Saturday.”
“There are a lot of members of our congregation who know roofs. That’s the kind of work they do every day,” said Alli Goodfellow, who lives and works as a missionary in Norman and was working at the site.
Members of the Spanish congregation and Spanish speaking missionaries in the Norman area worked together to salvage pieces of the roof that had been blown into the field behind the house. What they couldn’t salvage they carried to the curb for pick up and replaced with donated materials. And within a day and a half they had cleared the debris and constructed a new roof deck.
“When you are new to a country like some of us are, it’s sometimes hard to know how to be of effective help for your fellow men,” said Ochoa as he surveyed the work site. “This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to learn how to do that here as we follow Jesus Christ.”
Ochoa wasn’t the only person who heard and responded to the report of the damaged roof. Ignacio Perez, a local roofing subcontractor, noticed that someone had posted a photo of the roofless house on his brother’s Facebook page.