Dordt Students, Staff Help Victims Of Branson Tornado

Date posted - March 8, 2012

An EF2 tornado left mounds of rubble and piles of work to do in Branson, Missouri last week.

Because Dordt College’s men’s basketball team would be playing nationals there, college personnel knew that alumni and friends of the college attending the games might want to help in the cleanup.

The college coordinated its efforts with the First Presbyterian Church in Branson. On Wednesday, March 7, 25 volunteers showed up in the morning of the Dordt/Cal-Maritime game and worked in two different locations. On Thursday, March 8, the group more than doubled to 55 volunteers, but heavy rain caused the work to end earlier than expected.

Barb Mellema, one of the coordinators for the cleanup, and Dordt College director of annual giving says that they were overwhelmed by people’s willingness to show up – even in the rain. She says that everybody came and worked anyway.

On the first day, the crew cleaned debris from an open field and worked to repair a woman’s home that had sustained significant damage. They repaired her roof, patched up broken windows, and rebuilt steps leading up to the house.

Volunteers spent day two filling dumpsters with the remains of a house demolished from the storm, and some used chainsaws to help clear the area of downed trees.

Dordt College photographer Jamin Ver Velde followed the team to Branson and has been taking pictures for a photoblog that shows the happenings surround the team’s national tournament bid. He followed the work crew on Wednesday morning.

Those pictures and others taken during tournament time can be found at

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