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Members step forward to help neighbors

WELLS NEVADA
Folks here have learned relief comes in myriad forms. For some its the din of strangers wearing yellow T-shirts and tool belts patching up a damaged roof. For others its a plate of cookies a welcome cleaning kit or perhaps a good friends embrace.
Photo by Keith Johnson/Deseret Morning NewsFrom left Adam Neff Linden Hatch and Warren Peterson help repair roof of a Wells Nevada home that was damaged during the recent quake. Scores of Church members and others from Wells and neighboring communities converged on the town March 1 repairing homes and offering support to quake victims.
And for many in this small mining town in northeast Nevada spiritual relief was found in Sunday services conducted in a neighborhood school classroom. Such relief said Wells residents continues to provide comfort to the many victims of the Feb. 21 earthquake.
Its been so rewarding just to see people come together in a time of crisis said Rhonda Smith of the Wells Ward Elko Nevada East Stake.
Church members stepped forward to help their fellow members and neighbors almost the moment the magnitude-6 earthquake subsided providing for immediate needs such as food water and blankets. A March 1 multi-stake relief project focused on the long-term challenges facing quake victims. More than 200 members from Wells Elko Wendover and other surrounding communities slipped on yellow LDS Helping Hands T-shirts along with their winter coats and got to work repairing roofs chimneys and damaged walls.
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Its amazing how much weve accomplished — and we have a lot more help still coming said Wells Ward Bishop Robert Johnson.
Despite a late-winter snow storm people of all ages and vocational backgrounds gathered at the damaged Wells Ward meetinghouse for an 8 a.m. check-in. Waiting for them were a sign-up sheet and a stack of work orders identifying projects around the community. Contractors and others with construction backgrounds were offered battlefield promotions assigned a work crew and headed out with Church-provided repair tools and supplies in hand.
Photo by KeithJohnson/Deseret Morning NewsLinda Monroe of the Wells Ward helps clean a laundromat put out of operation by the earthquake.
The work of providing relief often happens inconspicuously behind closed doors. Not this time. The many colorful shirts worn by middle-aged men and teenagers as they repaired roofs and cleared up fallen masonry offered stark contrast to the overcast snowy skies.
While some teams pulled up and replaced shingles others knocked down fractured chimneys. Shovel crews cleaned up mounds of fallen brick and debris.
Amid the town-wide repair work Young Women and Relief Society groups blanketed the community delivering plates of cookies and cleaning kits and wielding brooms mops and cleaning rags. Some helped people restore the glass that encased beloved photos that had been damaged in the quake.
Ward public affairs specialist Spencer Egbert said radio advertisements were used to promote the Saturday relief-day project. Folks of all ages vocational and religious backgrounds were welcomed and put to work.
Photo by Keith Johnson/Deseret Morning NewsLisa Empey right and sister missionaries Corrina D. McDonnell and Blayre A. Ditto from the Nevada Las Vegas mission go door to door talking with residents of Wells Nev. offering assistance with earthquake cleanup.
Although children have returned to school and most adults are back to work the Wells recovery process continues. Repairs still need to be made to the meetinghouse chapel. After worshiping in Bishop Johnsons house on the Sunday following the quake the Wells Ward met at a local school for March 2 Sabbath services.
Crews from various stakes are expected to gather in Wells on Saturdays to continue the work of repairing roofs chimneys and walls. Sister Smith said she and her family are compiling a scrapbook chronicling the many stories photos and lessons of the Wells quake.
Look at what we went through and how we came together.
Photo by Jason SwensenYoung man shovels discarded roof shingles into Church-provided wheelbarrow. Crews worked efficiently together in the March 1 relief project.
Photo by Jason SwensenLDS work crews pull down a damaged chimney from home near the historic downtown district in Wells.
E-mail to: jswensen@desnews.com

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