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SWCC carpenters aim to help Joplin rebuild

• Program selling $6 take-and-bake pizzas to raise money for Joplin trip; Plan to rebuild homes there over spring break

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 10:39 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 1:45 p.m. CDT
(CNA photo by KYLE WILSON)
Cody Gilbert of Creston works on a house Southwestern Community College's carpentry and building trades program is building on Elm Street in Creston. Gilbert is one of about 26 SWCC students planning to go to Joplin, Mo., over spring break to help rebuild homes.

Southwestern Community College's carpentry and building trades students from Osceola and Creston are planning to go on a trip to Joplin, Mo., in March to help rebuilding efforts.

In May 2011, Joplin sustained the deadliest tornado in the United States since 1947. The EF5 tornado killed 158 people, left approximately 1,000 people injured and destroyed more than 7,000 houses.

Dennis Downing, carpentry instructor at SWCC in Creston, said rebuilding those 7,000 homes really means a lot to SWCC carpentry students, some of which witnessed firsthand the wrath of an EF2 tornado that damaged Creston and Southwestern's campus last April.

"This is an extremely good opportunity for our students to use the skills they've learned at Southwestern and give back to others in this country," Downing said. "This is a project that we hope will instill a lifelong habit in them to help others, because our goal as a program is to not only make better carpenters, but ultimately make better people."

But, Southwestern Community College's carpentry program will need some financial assistance getting to Joplin. For that, the program is partnering with Creston Hy-Vee and is selling 12-inch, take-and-bake pizzas for $6. The program will receive $2 for every pizza sold during the fundraiser.

The pizzas will be made personally by members of the carpentry program and will be available for pickup 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 10. To purchase a pizza in advance, contact Downing at (641) 414-3825.

Downing said the SWCC program will be partnering with a non-profit group once they arrive in Joplin and carpenters will work from footings all the way to finish, if needed.

"These kids are giving up their spring break to help others," Downing said. "We're going to be the manpower, so to speak. We are going to get down there, get to work and get as much done as possible in the time we have."

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