Sisters work alongside each other to help flood survivors

2019 flooding. “I enjoyed traveling with Wanda,” said Seymour. “And I am humbled that she is five years older than I am, and was able to keep

volunteer experience

Treasured time together

up with everyone else on the work crews.” Knight, who serves on the board of the MDS Kansas Unit, said that volunteering with MDS is a good way for family members to make time for each other. “I’m glad we could go together,” said Knight. “I know Valetta enjoyed it too.” The two women both said they felt fortunate to be able to attend a house dedication during their stay. “The family was very pleased to have their new home and begin their new lives in it,” said Seymour. All the volunteers in McAllen spent one afternoon attending a program on immigration and border issues. Knight said that the information presented helped her learn about the complex issues immigrants are facing. “It’s overwhelming,” she said. “When people would ask me to explain it, I couldn’t. But the speakers helped tell the stories of real people. I think it would be good to have these kinds of programs at more MDS projects.” Seymour said she knew nothing about the colonias—the neighborhoods in which MDS volunteers are working— before the trip. “These neighborhoods, because they are not within a municipality, are left without services we take for granted, such as trash pickup, police, road maintenance—and some don’t even have water or electricity,” she said. “And we heard from a volunteer who is working tirelessly to help immigrants on either side of the border,” said Seymour. “She regularly crosses into Mexico to take a few supplies to people living in dire circumstances in tent cities where they are waiting to be assessed for asylum.” – Susan Kim

homeowner experience

She’s pretty amazing!” That’s how Valetta Seymour described her sister, Wanda Knight, as the two women volunteered together for MDS in the Rio Grand Valley in February. Even though both sisters live in Kansas, they had not spent much time together during the past several years. Both widowed, they decided to make the trip—along with 13 volunteers from Kansas—to McAllen, Texas, to work on homes for flood survivors who bore the brunt of 2018 and

One day at a time

Chasity Walton stood in front of her home, which was nearly torn in half by a tornado that struck Mayfield, Kentucky on December 10, 2021. She rode out the storm up the street at her mother’s house with her three children, ages 13, 7 and 2. “I grabbed some diapers for my two-year-old and we went to my mother’s,” she said. That was all she had time to grab; she lost nearly everything when the tornado tore

For about six weeks after the storm, MDS volunteers helped with early response by using heavy equipment to remove debris and demolish houses beyond repair. Now MDS is partnering with Homes and Hope for Kentucky, created to serve as the long-term disaster recovery organization. For people like Walton, MDS volunteers are bringing a bright spot of hope in a recovery that could take years. “I’ve lived in Mayfield for 35 years—all my life,” said Walton. “I’m staying in Mayfield, but right now I have to take it one day at a time.” – Susan Kim

through her home, and a deluge of rain drenched everything inside. Walton is one of about 10,000 people who live in Mayfield, which continues on a path of long-term recovery. The tornado

“I’ve lived in Mayfield for 35 years–all my life.”


damaged or destroyed about 1,300 homes, businesses and churches. Several days of heavy rain followed the initial storm, further weakening structures and, particularly once the temperatures warmed up, opening a breeding ground for mold.

The Murillo family outside their new home in Texas

10 behind the hammer

behind the hammer 11

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online