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Tulsa disaster crew in Joplin to speed up 'Extreme Home Makeover' builds

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This might belong in the JW news section, but I'll let Bob decide that.

JOPLIN, Mo. - Tim Stuart, emergency services manager at TRC Disaster Solutions of Tulsa, has been in Joplin to help with tornado cleanup before. In the first weeks after May's devastating tornado, Stuart and his crew traveled to the southwestern Missouri city to help clear excess water from area businesses.

TRC, a Disaster Kleenup International member company, sends crews across the area to help in times of need. It serves clients ranging from private homeowners and businesses to institutions like Oklahoma State University Medical Center.

This time, though, Stuart and his team were sent to Joplin to assist as ABC's hit series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and thousands of volunteers worked to build seven new houses in just seven days.

"We were there to put the dryers in the houses to accelerate the drywall, mud and paint process so they could get done faster," Stuart said.

The crew generally deals in mold remediation, but this job was different. TRC needed to speed up the drywall and paint-drying process as much as possible to keep the construction on schedule. This was especially important considering the large scale of the projects.

Building so many homes at once is new for the reality-show team, but Stuart knew just how important his job was because he's worked on quick jobs before.

"I'm a Jehovah's Witness, so we do that on our Kingdom Hall builds," he said. "So I'm kind of used to that. We used to build them in about three days; now they take about a week to build."

Stuart said he and his crew rarely get recognition for the job they do, and they don't expect to be featured on the program when it airs.

But those working on the "Extreme Makeover" build couldn't be more appreciative of TRC's help.

"A finishing process on a house would be several days; they accelerated it to less than eight hours," said Jay Crawford, senior project manager for Timberlake Construction in Oklahoma City. "It's a significant improvement. It can't be done. The process can't be completed without that help."

To accomplish the feat, the company places dryers outside a home to suck out moisture and pump warm, dry air back in its place.

These dryers are huge, measuring about 12 feet long by 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall. A tractor-trailer and several box trucks were needed to get the dryers to Joplin.

Once they arrived on site, the crews spent nearly 14 hours on the ground, ensuring the rest of the volunteers could finish their work. Those long hours don't go unnoticed, and at least according to Crawford, every volunteer is necessary to the project's success.

"When you're thinking about the whole process of this week, King Solomon had a proverb that says, 'The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,' " he said. "This process, doing thing for these people, working together, it feeds your soul. It makes you feel good, and you think about why you're feeling good."

The community rising from the rubble wouldn't be coming together without TRC's help, but Stuart said it's not about his work. It's about helping your neighbors.

"We don't get much recognition out of it because it's, you know, it's what it is, but it was very gratifying for all of us to do that and give back," he said. "We take every day for granted, but it doesn't take but a heartbeat for everything you've got to be gone."

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20111026_11_A8_CUTLIN870720

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