Road to recovery

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle Niki Bowers sands drywall Friday at Anastacio Urioste’s home. Kingswood United Methodist Church is assisting the Uriostes in rebuilding their home after it was damaged by the March tornado.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Anastacio Urioste sat in what was left of his living room the day after a tornado tore through his Oak Street home. The gravity of what happened had not yet hit him.

The March 23 tornado that skittered through Clovis tore the shingles off his roof, broke windows and caused the back wall of the home to cave in. To make matters worse, the torrential rain that followed the tornado ruined the floors.

Looking back, he thought he would have to leave the house his family has been living in for 29 years.

“It felt like it was a lost cause,” he said

Last week, members of the Kingswood United Methodist Church started rebuilding Urioste’s house.

“Close to 50 people have been involved all around,” said Josh McCallister, the church’s discipleship director.

Every year the church has mission projects to help communities in need. This year it was close to home.

“We’ve used it as a fellowship. God motivates us in our faith to do this kind of work,” Kingswood United Methodist pastor Brad Reeves said.

The church found this year’s project through the Eastern New Mexico Disaster Recovery Council. Reeves sits on the council.

“The case management system ranks people according to needs. That way they’re prioritized,” Reeves said. “These folks had a very high ranking.”

Mark Smith, an electrician at the Public Service Co. of New Mexico, is using his vacation time to work on the house. His two children, T.J., 9, and Elizabeth, 12, have also helped around the work site.

Urioste had already started working on his home before the church came. He had to take time off from his two jobs to do it.

“He and his wife, they both work two jobs, and his son’s disabled,” Reeves said. “They’re a hard-working family that got hit by a bad circumstance.”

With Urioste’s Federal Emergency Management Agency funds, the church purchased materials from Triangle Ace Hardware at cost. McCallister said plumbing was done for free by Mark Carpenter Plumbing.

Reeves said the house should be completed by next week. He said he hopes other organizations can help other families hit by the disaster.

Urioste said he is looking forward to moving his family back home. The family of six has been living in a rented home since the tornado hit.

“I’m very grateful to everybody for what they’re doing to help us,” he said. “That dark tunnel we were seeing at first, we’re seeing a light at the end of it now.”