ServiceMaster Restore, one of the largest disaster restoration companies in the U.S., responded to Hattiesburg, Miss. in full force after catastrophic tornadoes on January 21 ripped across the Deep South, killing 19 people and causing widespread destruction. According to reports from the Weather Channel, “this month is already the deadliest for tornadoes in any January since 1969. The number of tornado-related deaths in those two days also exceeds what was seen in all of 2016.”
“I appreciate ServiceMaster and its Pine Belt staff for their quick response in helping Mississippians begin cleaning up their neighborhoods,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “With their generous donation to recovery efforts and crews from across the country responding to help, ServiceMaster has shown their commitment to our state and the Hattiesburg area.”
ServiceMaster Restore of Hattiesburg responded immediately after the tornadoes hit and mobilized crews from across the country to help aid in the restoration efforts.
“Sitting in our home, watching the news about a tornado hitting your hometown is terrifying,” said Darrin Renz, owner of ServiceMaster of Hattiesburg. “The first thing we thought about was the safety of the community we serve every day.”
ServiceMaster of Hattiesburg has served Hattiesburg, Laurel and surrounding areas for more than 20 years. “As soon as it was safe,” said Renz, “we got out to assess the damage and immediately called in franchisees in our network. We were able to have crews from across the country in town that afternoon and have since expanded our efforts to 300 restoration technicians who are working to rebuild our community.”
“The damage to the Hattiesburg community is truly devastating,” said Mary Kay Wegner, president, ServiceMaster Franchise Services Group which is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., about 300 miles north of the city. “Walking through the buildings and talking to home and business owners about their experience and seeing the loss is truly heartbreaking and humbling.”
In addition to restoration efforts in more than 40 buildings in the city, ServiceMaster Restore donated safety supplies to residents and announced a $10,000 donation to help victims of the Hattiesburg storms.
"I am grateful to ServiceMaster for the $10,000 donation, said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. “This will help us help homeowners in rebuilding their homes and lives. I'm also especially grateful for all their restoration efforts with many of the businesses in Hattiesburg. They are a true example of what our community is about."
A telethon will be held next Wednesday from 5:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. on WDAM (channels 2 and 4). For additional information, visit facebook.com/CityofHattiesburg.
“It’s important to help in whatever way possible so people can restore their homes and the community,” Wegner said. “For our franchisees, that always includes restoration efforts, but that also means going above and beyond and answering the needs of the community – and right now they need everyone who is able to pitch in and do what they can to help to rebuild.”
To follow ServiceMaster restoration efforts, follow the company on Facebook. For more information on how to prepare for and recover from disasters or extreme weather conditions, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com. For immediate assistance and clean up, call a live ServiceMaster Restore operator 24/7 at 1-800-RESPOND.
How you can help
After a disaster, the American Red Cross provides safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and health & mental health services to people in need. Financial donations are the easiest and quickest way to help to the people who need it.
Help people affected by disasters like the Mississippi tornadoes and countless other crises by volunteering or making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
People who are interested in volunteering can drop by the Red Cross Hattiesburg office between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to sign up. For anyone who was affected by the recent tornado, they can request assistance by calling the office (601) 583-8151. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
How you can prepare
Those in communities prone to natural disasters are also encouraged to download the free Red Cross Emergency App—supported in part by national partnership with ServiceMaster. The app contains info about shelters as well as safety information and resources. The app also provides expert advice on what to do in case of a tornado and other disasters.