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On Saturday, Dec. 6, a group of 16 Olivet College students and two employees will travel to Moore, Okla. to help rebuild areas of the city affected by a devastating tornado.

For the past 10 years, Olivet College students have spent part of their winter break serving in areas along the Gulf Coast damaged from Hurricane Katrina, as well as the Jersey Shore following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. The college decided to focus its service efforts this year on the city of Moore.

On May 20, 2013 an EF5 tornado with wind speeds estimated at 210 miles per hour hit Moore. The tornado was 1.3 miles wide, stayed on the ground for 37 minutes and destroyed a 17-mile stretch of commercial and residential property, including the Plaza Towers Elementary School. Twenty-four people lost their lives during the storm and 377 were injured.

While in Oklahoma, the students will work through Church of the Harvest Disaster Response and will be staying at the First Christian Church of Moore. Their work will include constructing utility buildings, as well as painting exterior walls and fences. They will return to campus Saturday, Dec. 13.

This project is a shared ministry of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ. A grant from the National United Church of Christ (UCC) Office of Volunteer Ministries and the Covenant Association of the Michigan UCC has helped make this trip possible.

Students participating include: Jim Collins, of Lowell; Dillon Cooper, of Pittsford; Jessica Doster, of Three Rivers; Casey Eldridge, of Vermontville; Kyle Frizzell, of Springport; Amanda George, of Laingsburg; Megan Hackney, of Eaton Rapids; Brittany Hayes, of Battle Creek; Rachel Joseph, of Chesterfield; William Kirkendall, of DeWitt; Josh Kofflin, of Milan; Alyssa Monterusso, of Grand Rapids; Dillon Norton, of Carson City; Ashley Partlo, of Coleman; Hailey Willett, of Leslie; and Rachel Zeiler of Ida.

The trip is organized by Mike Fales, director of service learning and campus ministries, and Carrie Jacob, community service coordinator. For more information, contact Fales at 269.749.7624 (office) or 517.231.6818 (cell), or Jacob at cjacob@olivetcollege.edu.

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