Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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November 20, 2013

Volunteers pick up the pieces

More than 400 people help cleanup efforts in Kokomo.

(Continued)

Trinity United Methodist Church on Locke Street became the makeshift headquarters for the volunteers, said Jeff Newton, director of Kokomo Urban Outreach.

He estimated that more than 400 people had passed through the doors by 2 p.m. Monday.

A group of college students stopped by to help the children in Kokomo’s most affected neighborhoods. The volunteers played games with the kids and helped them with crafts to take their minds off the devastation, Newton said.

Some Chrysler employees showed up at the church to help serve lunch to families who had no power in their homes.

And hundreds of volunteers spent the day cleaning.

About 15 students from The Crossing picked up debris for four hours around Hoffer Street and Home Avenue.

It was a mess, Allyssa Pollock said.

They tried to pick up the big things — limbs, wood, insulation and tons and tons of shingles. But amid the trash, they also found remnants of people’s lives.

There were baby dolls and Christmas decorations.

Seeing all of that was too much for Pollock.

“I cried,” she said. “There was so much devastation.”

Kokomo High School Junior Joey Hurlocker said that devastation is what drove him to help Persons organize an army of volunteers.

“It’s important to help pick up the pieces for people who lost everything,” he said. “They really have nothing to work with. It’s going to be a long road ahead.”

As the afternoon drew to an end, volunteers went their separate ways.

Persons returned to Twitter where his campaign started and gave a shout out to everyone who came to help him. The support was amazing, he said.

He ended with a tweet that said, “Man I love my city! #765standup.”

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com

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