Amish, Mennonites head home after helping tornado recovery - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Amish, Mennonites head home after helping tornado recovery

Cottage Hill Baptist Church has given the volunteers a home for the last two years. Source: WBRC video Cottage Hill Baptist Church has given the volunteers a home for the last two years. Source: WBRC video
PLEASANT GROVE, AL (WBRC) -

They came as complete strangers but they're packing up their bags and leaving as family.

Two years ago, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite members from Pennsylvania traveled to Pleasant Grove to help repair what the April 27 tornado had destroyed.

Though they're heading back to Pennsylvania, they've become family to people like Cottage Hill Baptist Church Pastor Jerry Sherrell.

"As bad as the storm was a blessing did come from the midst of it," said Sherrell.

Hundreds of humble volunteers made the trip from up north to help complete strangers in Alabama. They're a part of Community Aid and Relief Effort or C.A.R.E organization.

Both Amish and Mennonite members offered their help immediately after the April 27 tornado ripped through communities like Pleasant Grove.

"They've done work for people all over, not only Pleasant Grove but in Walker County, Tuscaloosa County, Pratt City, and they've never asked anybody for anything except the opportunity to serve," Sherrell said.

Sherrell said all they asked for was to use the church's land to set up their living and praying quarters. Other than that their only concern was helping others.

"They come in teams every week. Sometimes there might be 20, sometimes there might be 40. They come on their own expense," said Jerry.

Ivan Esh is on his fourth visit. He didn't know a single soul coming in but that didn't matter.

"I was never on a first response team before so that really stuck. I will never forget that moment. So you just want to help people out," said Ivan.

Coming from Pennsylvania, Ivan said the weather here isn't too bad either.

And while he didn't have any ties to anyone he said what he got out of this is far more than he had imagined.

"You get more than you give every time. It never fails," said Ivan.

The church held a celebration honoring the volunteers last Sunday and Sherrell says he is keeping in touch with those who have made such an impact in Alabama.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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