Volunteers From Across The Country Helping Oklahoma Rebuild

Friday, September 5th 2014, 5:45 pm
By: News 9

To honor the 13th Anniversary of 9/11, volunteers from New York City and dozens of other disaster-affected areas are pitching in to rebuild parts of Oklahoma devastated by the 2013 storms.

Bit by bit, a Bethel Acres barn that was blown away by the May 19th 2013 tornado is finally coming back together.

"We'll have 12 stalls, a feed room, storage area and kennels,” said Maeghan Hadley, who founded the 1 Day Ranch, which serves as a horse and dog rescue. Hadley says she's floored so many people have come to help.

"We definitely didn't have the budget to build a new barn, we fundraised and everything but just couldn't get it all together," she said.

Since the attacks on 9/11, volunteers with the “New York Says Thank You Foundation” take vacation days and pay their own way to travel to disaster sites every September and lend a hand.

“We come every year because we had a tornado in 2009 in Mena, Arkansas, and we've been paying it forward every year since,” said Ammie Winger, who volunteers with her husband and two sons.

“It was overwhelming, because we were done, and the group just came in and took over and helped build our house, so we've now been to North Dakota, Joplin twice and New York since this is our family now, once we get started, we can't stop.”

About 1,500 volunteers are expected to help with the 4-day project. From cutting to painting, this group will leave “Stars of Hope.”

“Kids can come out with their families and paint inspirational messages on wooden stars that will show up on disaster sites across the world, this is a way for folks to know we care,” said Jeff Parness of the “New York Says Thank You Foundation.”

And by Saturday night, the 1 Day Ranch barn is expected to be completed.

"Terrorists will never win when barns like this get built, and when people like all the people you see here come together, that's what we're about," Parness said.

The group will host a tree planting event on Sunday morning at the OKC National Memorial.