With loads of help, Moffett School rebuilds
Lance Stuart, principal of Moffett School, was emotional Monday as he spoke about the donations and labor that have come from all over, including two construction crews from Virginia which arrived Sunday to help with construction.
Classes are expected to begin Monday and Stuart said he is excited!
“We’ve been getting calls from parents asking every day. Our phone lines are working again along with everything else. Today, we installed the central heat and air units so we’re ready to go. We are just so thankful for all the support we’ve received. We couldn’t have done this without everyone who helped,” Stuart said.
Stuart said donations have included work from volunteers and monetary contributions, books, computers, and other supplies for the school which lost nearly everything from the recent flood.
“I just don’t know where to begin to thank all the volunteers. We had four days to get everything we could out of the school but we couldn’t get it all. It was devastating,” Stuart said.
“Since that time, we’ve had people from all over the world who have helped with the clean up, the construction, food and supplies we’ve needed to get the students back into their classes and come Monday morning, we will be ready to welcome the students back.”
One of the largest groups of volunteers, God’s Pit Crew of Danville, Va., arrived with 50 volunteers Sunday with a convoy of four semi-truck loads of building materials, equipment for the cafeteria and classroom supplies. They brought desks for the teachers, a podium and a whiteboard, all made possible from donations the group collected, Randy Johnson, founder and director of the disaster relief organization,” said.
“This is the third time we’ve been here,” Johnson said.
“We came to help with the clean up right after the flood in May. Then we returned later to survey what we were going to need to help with the reconstruction and what materials we might need. Now we’re here to help rebuild,” he said.
Johnson said the volunteers who are in Moffett are a mixture of people with a variety of specialized skills.
“We have plumbers, carpenters, handymen, but everyone helps where help is needed,” he said. “Today (Monday) we have separated into groups so we have teams who are framing, hanging sheetrock, putting in insulation, or bringing furniture in. We’re going to be here for two weeks and hope to get as much done as possible,” Johnson said.
Another group of volunteers from the Thomas Road Church which is located on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., also brought a group of 10 to help.
“We’ll be here for three weeks to do what we can to help where help is needed. I got a call from Randy (Johnson) and asked if we wanted to come along. So here we are,” Tim Grandstaff, missions pastor, said.
The volunteers are staying at Eastside Baptist Church in Fort Smith while volunteering daily in Moffett.
“We are ready. We have four portable classrooms for the fifth through eighth grade students and we will be using the gym for the third and fourth grade students and we have 12 classrooms ready,” Stuart said.
“I believe Moffett School will be even better now. We will have internet and we are getting donations for computers. God has really blessed us and we are very thankful. “None of this could have been done without everyone’s help. That includes our local people such as Steve Rutherford, director of Sequoyah County Emergency Management who helped with all the paperwork for FEMA, and the banks who helped. We also thank the Sallisaw High School Boys and Girls basketball teams who came to lend a hand, the local sheriff’s department and their inmate crew. There were a couple of professional football players, the Anderson brothers, who provided football uniforms and everything we needed to rebuild our football program,” Stuart said.
“I can’t name everyone one by one but every night before I go to bed, I thank God for all the people he sent to help us. I just get emotional about it,” he said.
Stuart said the U.S. Corps of Engineers is working on a plan to provide better security and protection for Moffett in the future. The entire town was under water for several days when flood waters reached over 40 feet in May.
Moffett School has a total of 370 students. The school has no bus route and students including some from neighboring towns are brought to the school by their parents with some who work in Fort Smith, Ark., Stuart said.
For any information about the school’s schedule or questions about enrollment, call the school at 918-875-3668. To learn more about God’s Pit Crew or to view videos about the work in Moffett, go to: https://godspitcrew.org/