Mennonites aid in long-term recovery
by Jennifer Cohron
Mar 25, 2012 | 1449 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Work is ongoing at the old VFW in Cordova. It is being remodeled by Mennonite Disaster Service. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
Work is ongoing at the old VFW in Cordova. It is being remodeled by Mennonite Disaster Service. Photo by: Jennifer Cohron
slideshow
Pennsylvania native Karen Neupauer has a passion for disaster relief.

She has volunteered with such faith-based organizations as Youth with a Mission, the Evangelical Free Church of America and Habitat for Humanity in devastated areas from Galveston, Texas to Nicaragua.

Now she is serving in Cordova on her first project with the Mennonite Disaster Service.

“I love the heart of what they’re doing,” Neupauer said.

Neupauer is project manager of the MDS team that is currently remodeling the old VFW into the new headquarters of the Cordova Police Department. Part of the building will also be used as office space for the Walker County Long Term Recovery Committee.

Neupauer said that while she doesn’t have as extensive of a background in construction as some of her team members, she has discovered that volunteers only need a desire to learn and a willingness to serve.

She added that sometimes volunteers do as much good with their presence as they do with their power tools.

“You can just see that their hope and their spirits are rejuvenated, and they know they’re not left alone to figure out how to move on from the physical and emotional damage,” she said.

When Neupauer leaves Cordova at the end of the month, she expects to head to Kentucky to help residents affected by recent tornadoes.

Neupauer said blessings go both ways when she is helping families in need.

“Just seeing their faces and hearing their stories encourages me,” she said.