Inspiration: homeless head to Joplin to lend a hand

In a remarkable move co-sponsored by the Catholic Action Center, people who have next-to-nothing are going to Missouri to help those who have even less.

Details:

A dozen Kentucky volunteers who know what it’s like to lose everything are joining the relief effort in tornado-stricken Missouri.

The volunteers are from a homeless shelter in Lexington, Ky., where they saw the devastation on TV and decided to take action.

They headed to Joplin on Tuesday, ready for more than a week of 12-hour work days to help people who lost their homes when the Missouri city was struck by the May 22 tornado. Nearly a third of the city was damaged and more than 130 people were killed.

David Hosey, who has been homeless for about four months, said he looked forward to making a difference and encouraging storm victims to keep their heads up in the face of adversity.

“I love my country,” the Vietnam veteran said in a phone interview. “I have a lot to give back. And it’s the right thing to do.”

The volunteer group includes 10 people — eight men and two women — who are currently homeless and two others who used to be homeless, said organizer Ginny Ramsey. The volunteers underwent background checks and received physicals and tetanus shots.

Ramsey said the team — which includes two supervisors — will spend at least eight days assisting in the massive cleanup effort. Some of the volunteers have backgrounds in construction work that will come in handy, she said.

“They are going to be doing some hard work,” she said.

She expects the volunteers to benefit as much as the storm victims.

“There is nothing that revives the human spirit more than to know that you’re needed, and then to put your energy into it,” she said.

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