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Crawford group shows it cares

April 25, 2012
A Crawford County couple has a soft place in their hearts for victims of deadly storms, and they are working to help many get back on their feet.

Volunteers with Crawford County Cares paint a house in Scottsburg recently. The group, led by Russ and Becky Green of Milltown, fixed up the exterior of the house so a family who lost its home from the tornado that struck Henryville March 2 could move into it. Photo courtesy of Russ Green
Russ and Becky Green of Milltown became involved in helping tornado victims last year when storms ripped through several southern states, including Alabama, where the city of Tuscaloosa suffered a huge amount of damage and loss of life. This year, the need to help was much closer to home.

"As soon as we heard about the tornadoes hitting the Henryville area, we began planning ways to help," Russ Green said. "We were hoping that we'd never have this happen this close to home, but it did, and we wanted to help."

The Greens, who call their small group Crawford County Cares, have already helped get furniture and other items for six houses for people who lost their homes in the storm.

"When people lose their homes in a storm, that's not all they lose," Green said. "Most of them can eventually find a place to live — a roof over their heads — but they don't have furniture, pots and pans, dishes, cleaning tools or appliances. That's where we come in. When we went to Alabama last year, we took almost 250 boxes of goods with us, including food and clothing. But this is different than what we did in Alabama. This is close to home. This is even more emotional."

After the Alabama tornadoes, the Greens kept collecting furniture and household goods. They now have borrowed the use of two barns to store items, and their house, Green said, looks like a warehouse right now.

"My wife, Becky, is real meticulous and sees to even the smallest detail. She has kids' clothes boxed up according to age and size, all numbered and organized and ready to go. That helps when we start delivering stuff to the victims. And the Milltown (Southern) Baptist Church has been a blessing, as well. They work with us to get what is needed to the right people."

Green said donations have been coming in regularly, noting that one woman was downsizing to a smaller home and wanted all new furniture, so she donated almost everything to the Greens to take to the tornado victims.

"Another guy in English had a barn almost full of furniture," Green said. "And he gave it all to us, and even helped us haul a lot of it. But it's going to the people who need it, and his generosity will be appreciated."

One family, who lost their home in Henryville, finally found a house in Scottsburg.

"But they had nothing else," Green said. "So, we fixed them up with almost everything they needed: furniture, appliances and even pictures and knick-knacks. Those are things most people don't even consider, but they make a house a home."

The house in Scottsburg was livable, but the exterior was in bad shape, and the Greens set about correcting the problem. With numerous volunteers, they spent several days power washing the house, making repairs to windows and getting things ready to paint. Then, on a scheduled day, the group showed up early, worked all day and had the house painted by evening.

"We had about 15 people working on it," Green said. "It took nine hours just to paint it, but we had good help."

"My wife and I aren't really an agency, we just want to help people, and there's a lot of people out there who feel the same way," he said. "We're both retired and have the time to do it, so why not help out?"

"The paint and supplies were paid for through donations to the Milltown (Southern) Baptist Church on behalf of the storm victims," Green continued. "And we also have to thank Larry and Tina Warren of Warren Printing in Corydon, Mike Gross and Steve's Corydon Glass and Mirror and Harold Weathers. We couldn't have done this without them."

The Greens plan to keep working with the Henryville, Marysville, New Pekin and Chelsea storm victims as long as they are needed. Then, they'll begin collecting items for the next tornadoes, hoping they won't be so close to home.

To donate items or learn more about Crawford County Cares, call 633-4381 or 1-812-596-4814.

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