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Volunteers helping families rebuild after Tropical Storm Debby

10:58 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Hammers & Hearts

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. -- Volunteers traveled to the First Coast today to help out families affected by natural disasters.

Sue Lanson is still trying to recover from Tropical Storm Debby one year later.

"Now, all of a sudden, I've got leaks in every room," said Lanson.

Lanson, 65, lives in Columbia County, one of the areas that felt the wrath of Debby. She is finally getting her home repaired with the help of volunteers.

"The long part has been getting to this point," said Lanson.

Lanson is receiving help from a group of volunteers from the United Methodist Church and the non-profit Hammers and Hearts.

"You can't imagine how grateful I am for what they're doing," Lanson said.

Ben Tarpley, founder of Hammers and Hearts, said his organization travels the country providing disaster relief.

"We've done 12 homes and we have another 18 in the works," Tarpley said.

The organization which was birth out of the Missouri tornadoes of 2011 is now making a difference on Florida.

"We have formed relations with several groups to make this work," said Tarpley. "We don't ask for money, but we do get donations."

Lanson, a retired nurse, said when the group is finished with her roof she will begin the repairs on the inside of her home.

"I retired in 2008 and did not do any volunteer work," said Tarpley. "The rewards are the hugs and thank yous that come everyday."

First Coast News

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