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Oklahoma tornadoes: Builders called to 'ministry' of hope

Robert Crout, president of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, encourages members to “provide hope even in a time like this,” in preparation for rebuilding after destruction in Moore, Shawnee, Oklahoma City and elsewhere across the state.
by Richard Mize Published: May 24, 2013

Oklahoma City-area homebuilders have been called to “ministry now,” said Robert Crout, president of the Central Oklahoma Builders Association.

Crout, a Mustang land developer, emailed a message to the association's membership Thursday in response to the tornadoes on Sunday in Edmond and Shawnee and on Monday in Moore and Oklahoma City — and elsewhere across the state.

It reads like a pastoral letter.

“With tears flowing from a pierced heart, we all share the desire to help immediately so many whose life has been changed forever. The needs are great for those without water, food, clothing and shelter. Comfort and compassion is needed for all, especially those who have lost family and loved ones. The needs are ongoing,” Crout wrote. “I pray that God will use each of us as He cares for our neighbors in need.

“Please join me in quiet prayer. Be sensitive to God tugging at your heart. Listen for His call. Respond in His name.”

Builders, he wrote, “are uniquely prepared to help our brothers and sisters in a way few can. We are the ones who will rebuild their homes and help them restore their lives.”

Despair abounds, Crout wrote.

“But today, in the midst of utter turmoil, our profession has become our ministry, and our ministry is to provide hope even in a time like this,” he wrote. “Your next project is hope, the hope that comes with rebuilding. This is your ministry now.”

Association responds

The Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association executive leadership met Thursday morning to decide how best to respond to immediate needs as well provide housing information to the public as rebuilding begins, said Terri Akers, executive director.

She said members of the public with questions about rebuilding can call the association at 843-1508. Callers will be directed to the Moore Home Builders Association, Shawnee Home Builders Association, Newcastle leaders or the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, as appropriate.

Akers cautioned people to be wary of out-of-state contractors who rush in after such disasters. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt also has issued warnings about fraudulent companies that always pop up in response to such widespread destruction.

Some contractors from out of state do come “to help with the rebuild,” Akers said. “We only ask that as these individuals begin the process of rebuilding to be sure your contractor is a member of a local HBA (homebuilders association). ... These associations have membership requirements and codes of ethics that help to ensure professionalism (among) the builders, contractors and remodelers who are members.”

by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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