The Norman Transcript


June 14, 2013

Spanish congregation responds to a neighbor’s need



“So I came to see,” he said, “and I saw that I could help. I had shingles at my business. But I didn’t want to just drop them off. I wanted to do the job well.”

So late Sunday morning, as the church group finished the roof deck, Perez and his brothers and some friends climbed onto the roof and started shingling.

In the meantime, the Mormon Helping Hands group had met the next door neighbor who was dealing with a yard full of downed and broken trees and needed help clearing it out.

“That’s what we’re doing now,” said Whitney Porter, stretching her arms to show the group of volunteers cutting and hauling brush and trees to the curb. “I arrived in Oklahoma three weeks ago to do mission work. Since the tornados hit, this is what we do every day. It’s great.”

“It is tiring work,” said Manuel Ochoa, of Norman, as he dragged brush to the curb, “but seeing the face of the homeowners and hearing how they feel energizes you.”

The work also makes you hungry, and at noon members of Perez’s crew and the church volunteers shared tortillas and a big pot of taco filling that the homeowner’s family had made to express their appreciation. And then they climbed back onto the roof and headed back to the neighbor’s yard to continue their work.

Mormon Helping Hand volunteers are available to help anyone who has been a victim of the recent tornado outbreak. They can remove drywall, insulation, flooring, carpeting, furniture and appliances from damaged homes, affix tarps to roofs and remove trees and other debris from lawns.

The effort is part of the church’s ongoing “Helping Hands” service to friends and neighbors. Volunteers clad in yellow T-shirts and vests work free of charge and provide the tools and equipment necessary to complete the work.

To help reach tornado victims, volunteers are going door to door in the affected areas, handing out fliers with contact information and available services listed. Fliers also are written in Spanish and there are Spanish speaking individuals available at Command Center to answer phones.

For cleanup assistance, call 794-5414 or send an email with your contact information to

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