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CERT Volunteers Return Home After Helping Tornado Victims

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Several volunteers from the Ozarks who helped with tornado recovery in Baxter Springs returned Wednesday.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Several volunteers from the Ozarks who helped with tornado recovery in Baxter Springs returned Wednesday.

The group is called CERT or the Community Emergency Response Team.

They're volunteers who this week put their lives on hold to help those affected by recent tornadoes.

The Branson CERT volunteers are fixing up their supply trailer after spending three days cleaning up after a tornado.

"It's always a tear jerker when you see a house tore up and a family displaced," CERT Volunteer Paul Harkins said.

Harkins lead the team of four from Branson to Baxter Springs and Quapaw.

"We did everything from debris removal to setting up some supplies to handing out food and water," he said.

"We tarped roofs because they knew rain was coming and they hadn't had any help yet," Volunteer Barry Jantz said.

Jantz said the most rewarding part of volunteering is knowing he's making a difference.

"We not only just moved the debris and carried stuff for them we would go and stand with them and talk with them and they were just overwhelmed that people would come and help them," he said.

The volunteers take supplies like chain saws and water with them and seek out distressed homeowners, especially those without insurance.

"We not only helped them with the services to get their roofs repaired their lives back in order but some food and some water," Harkins said.

These four volunteers will head back to Branson and get back to their daily routine, but are proud of what they could provide to those in need.

"Talking to them and making them know someone cares," Harkins said.

"It's just great to be able to help people," Jantz said.

There are still more than a dozen CERT volunteers from the Ozarks in Baxter Springs and surrounding communities.

They're expected to return this weekend.

If you would like more information about becoming a CERT volunteer, click the related link on this story or email cert@bransonmo.Gov
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