Local teens spent what would have been their prom weekend in the tornado-devastated region of neighboring Chatsworth.

Rome High students Jake Jensen, Adam and Scott Peterson, Hayden Filetti and Macy Andrews joined with members of their church and community members to help clean up the destruction left in the wake of tornado’s that struck Easter. Local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26, sifting through the rubble trying to help residents salvage what they could and to clean up what was left over.

Hayden Filetti found a scrapbook with photos from World War II. He was able to pass it along to someone who knew the owner.

RHS Senior Jake Jensen spent the weekend using a chainsaw to cut through trees that had taken out homes and vehicles.

Maci Andrews said, “I’m glad I got to see so many people and that I got to help them! They were very grateful and we were happy to do it. Lots of poison ivy and scrapes but it was all worth it!”.

Judy Brock participated in the clean up and she posted, “Our hearts were broken as we sifted through the mud to find and help return personal effects tossed and torn from the homes of people we never met but connected with instantly.

“I’m so sorry for the circumstances that bring us together to serve others but what a gift it always is to feel the bonds of unity and the hope of humanity, especially during times of isolation and distancing.”

This effort was part of the “Helping Hands” program, which brings together members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their neighbors to provide community service. These volunteers in their trademark yellow shirts help people whose lives have been affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. The program was established in 1998, and since then hundreds of thousands of volunteers have donated millions of hours of service to their communities. The program started in South America but has since spread to nearly every corner of the world.

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