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Samaritan's Purse Volunteers Say Goodbye to Joplin

A group responsible for helping repair hundreds of homes since the May 2011 tornado is ending its mission in Joplin.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Members of Samaritan's Purse setup a command post at Forrest Park Baptist Church in Joplin hours after the tornado struck. With shovels, chain saws, and hammers in hand, crews set out to help so many in need.

"We can't help everybody, but we know that there are some people out there that fall through the cracks," said Steve Gahagan, Program Manager, Samaritan's Purse.

The group organized 6,400 volunteers to come and help a community most had never heard of. Some volunteers say their service in Joplin was a calling.

"This is what the Lord has given me to do and he's let me come here to use something I can do to help others, and that's the purpose," said Larry Jaques, Samaritan Volunteer.

Volunteers helped repair more than 750 homes for families, and their work didn't end there.

"We have helped to rebuild or repair 8 homes, and we have built 15 homes from the ground up," said Gahagan.

Today, Samaritan's Purse officially ended their mission in Joplin, with presenting a home in Joplin to Lacy Tasker and her son. Tasker lost everything in the storm, and is humbled that so many strangers would help her family.

"To see people coming from out of state and helping, we don't' feel, I don't feel so alone. It's beautiful, people are beautiful," said Lacy Tasker, Received Samaritan's Purse Home.

Volunteers say the days were long, and the work was hard, but it was the community that made the mission special.

"I just want to thank Joplin for allowing us to be here," said Gahagan.

Crews are already starting to pack up and say good-bye to Forest Park Baptist Church, the place the group was headquartered for the last two years. Their work is far from over, many of those same volunteers are heading to the East Coast to help communities recover from Hurricane Sandy.
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