Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference.

A Volunteer Minister who helped in the wake of the Joplin, Missouri tornado in May 2011 described how much people appreciated his willingness to do some hard work.

For several hours, he and some other volunteers helped a woman dig through the wreckage of her home. She was so grateful about the dishes and glasses they salvage—these were cherished possessions that had belonged to her mother.

One family was thrilled when they recovered the children’s toys. And one of her neighbors was relieved to have them help clear her driveway so she could drive to work.  

After helping a woman and her grandson load a trailer with their possessions, they asked if she needed anything else. She said her wedding ring was missing—her late husband had it made for her and she really treasured it. Locating what used to be the master bedroom they began to search. Digging through the debris, first they found her diamond earrings, then more jewelry. When they finally found the wedding ring in a clump of insulation, the 80-year-old grandmother literally jumped for joy.

Two women were laboring unsuccessfully to load their great-grandfather’s table saws and 100-pound drills into a truck.  When the Volunteer Ministers got the tools onto the bed of the truck, their helped was rewarded with hugs.

It was physically taxing, but it made a difference to people who really needed a hand after a disaster.  The Joplin experience once again confirmed for them that the Volunteer Ministers motto—“Something can be done about it” —is not simply words, it is a way of life.