Ozarks Local News – March 15, 2006:

Chris Graber didn’t know what his family’s future would be Sunday night when he saw a “dark spot” come barreling over a hill and take dead aim for his modest home in eastern Webster County.

“I never thought we’d be rebuilding the next day. I thought we’d be getting ready for a funeral,” he said late Tuesday afternoon.

The Grabers escaped unharmed from the tornado that plowed through Webster County.

Not so their home. It was torn apart by the twister’s fury.

But in less than 15 hours, the Grabers were back in a new home rebuilt on the same spot — a peaceful valley south of Missouri 38 about 10 miles east of Marshfield — by more than 100 men and boys from neighboring Amish homesteads near the Grabers.

“By 2 p.m., we were mopping the floors,” he said.

  1. Jose says:

    dam Amish, living up to people’s sterotypes & expectations

  2. Kent Goldings says:

    This is more than just a little embarrassing. Instead of pointing fingers and blaming the victims, they rolled up their sleeves and got the job done. This is sense of community that religious devotion is supposed to inspire. Not these morally bankrupt crazies that go to mega-churches and don’t give a damn about others.

  3. gquaglia says:

    And they don’t use power tools either…quite amazing

  4. Puttanun says:

    I’ve heard that they used glue instead of nails.

  5. Alex says:

    New Orleans needs some Amish.

  6. Dallas says:


    I live in the panhandle of Florida and they are still lazy people who havn’t rebuilt their homes from hurricanes from last year. Insted of fighting insurace they should be out at least picking up their yard.

  7. Bruce IV says:

    I agree with Kent – why can’t the rest of us be like that?!?

  8. KB says:

    Ah.. there are so many morals to this story. Where to start.. Where to start..

  9. Raff says:

    Why am I suddenly reminded of ants?

  10. Jim B says:

    Ah! — what you can accomplish when there is no gov’t red tape — building permits, inspections — not to mention slow contractors.

    I’d vote to elect an Amish. Problem is they’d never be able to get anything accomplished, with the system the way it is now.

  11. Ballenger says:

    These good people have something inside that really is the best part of humanity. Thanks for posting this one.

  12. Sounds The Alarm says:

    Strength of community and faith

  13. Sean says:

    Certainly makes it more interesting that they only use hand tools. On the other hand, they have no wiring to run, no pluming to install, no inspections, no unions, probably not even a foundation to pour.

    All that same, you won’t a community like that anywhere else.

  14. RTaylor says:

    Actually the Amish will use pneumatic power tools as long as the compressors aren’t powered by electricity. Here they probably didn’t because of large number of laborers. This type of thing was very common in most rural areas just a few decades ago. Small communities knew they only had each other to rely on. I remember attending a barn raising in the mid 60’s

  15. Allen says:

    from WIki on insurance:

    Some people erroneously consider insurance a type of wager (particularly as associated with moral hazard) that executes over the policy period. The insurance company bets that you or your property will not suffer a loss while you put money on the opposite outcome. The difference in the fees paid to the insurance company versus the amount for which they can be held liable if an accident happens is roughly analogous to the odds one might expect when betting on a racehorse (for example, 10 to 1). For this reason, a number of religious groups, including the Amish and Muslims, avoid insurance and instead depend on support provided by their communities when disasters strike. This can be thought of as “social insurance,” as the risk of any given person is assumed collectively by the community who will all bear the cost of rebuilding. In closed, supportive communities where others can be trusted to step in to rebuild lost property, this arrangement can work.

    (looks like it does in fact work)

  16. kzoodata says:

    They have a far more efficient insurance (call it social security) system, eh? You merely have to give up a few days each year to devote to someone else’s welfare with no financial compensation.

    Now as far as the house goes, you don’t have to run copper wire for electricity, or plumbing (except the kitchen), no carpet to lay, no hvac system – all modern comforts I’d rather not live without. These systems take more time to put up. Still, if everyone had construction skills, and if we had more flexible and universal work policies, a neighborhood could certainly rebuild in a week, eh? No? Money always getting in the way, isn’t it?

  17. Miguel says:

    These people also keep their building skills up to date, instead of having someone else build their houses! Whenever someone in the community needs a house, it’s the community that builds it. Therefore it can be done faster, as they are all experienced builders!

    Way to go, a great example for the rest of us living in ‘normal’ society…

  18. FARTaLOT says:

    Our culture is based on money. We need money to do everything we do in our every day life. The Amish people here don’t have that big concern about that since everything they need in their life they provide on their own.

    Rebuilding a home like this isn’t a big task for the Amish. Consider the home probably uses little to no technology. Basic plumbing (if any) , no electricity, no need to hire contractors to each part of a construction job separately.

    A lot of what they did they were able to get for free. The Amish are incredibly self-sufficient and they create or harvest the materials they need to build a house. It’s not like they drove over to Home Depot and spent money on pressure treated lumber.

    But we on the other have had to go though so much bullshit and red tape if we wanted to even just convert your GARAGE into a family room. Spend like $10000 for things licence fees, permits to do construction, insurance, bank loans, supplies. bla bla bla.

    The Amish just used what they had near them, and I’m sure they were prepared for disasters like this (fire, flood, tornado’s, etc).. They don’t even bother with insurace to help with disasters.

  19. JoAnn says:

    Republicans look at this and point out how the Amish don’t need government handouts or FEMA to get back on their feet. They just rolled up their sleaves and solved the problem themselves.

    Democrats will say, “Yeah, but it took a village, a community.”

    And they’d both be right.

    In the rest of America, our “village” has become global. We reach out to insurance corporations and yes, the agencies of the US Government instead of the people living next door to us because somewhere that became more socially acceptable. Maybe because we’re all too busy living inside our McMansions and working at our office jobs 60 hours a week to know and trust each other in our more local villages, towns, and communities. Pretty sad.


  20. david says:

    The Amish are united in culture, values and beliefs. The America are polarized. Amish cooperate because it is easy when everyone shares the same values. America’s Left and Right fight to get the other to succumb to its side. The Amish are honest. They don’t burn down their barns purposely because they want a bigger and better one. They let God determine outcomes. America uses God. America exploits God. Just like a bitch. In America God is a bitch. In Amish country God is a Mother.

  21. Angel H. Wong says:

    It’s easy to build a house without wiring and internal plumbing, without them it’s just a box.

  22. MikeR says:

    “By 2 p.m., we were mopping the floors,” he said.
    By 5 p.m. there was a “Condemned” sign posted on the front door followed by a destruct order from the State Inspector’s office for failure to obtain the proper permits…..

  23. Floyd says:

    Note: nowhere in the original article does it say that the Grabers are Amish; the Amish community were being good neighbors. The rebuilt house has aluminum siding, which probably wouldn’t be found on an Amish home. Hopefully the Grabers will help someone else in turn.

  24. joshua says:

    I wish I could remember where I just read an article on how the Amish work out health care with local hospitals for their entire community.
    They *haggle* with the hospital about the cost of just about everything you can imagine ever using in a hospital, then pay that final set price when one of their folks needs care and pay it all with cash. They have a community *health pool*, everyone donates their fair share and this is where the money comes from.
    They do not believe in insurence, so they kind of do this Amish HMO kind of deal. It was quite interesting.

  25. Mr. Fusion says:

    A few people hit on the problem here. This Amish group did not get permits, have the construction inspected, or have all the other amenities such as central heating and electricity installed. Nor do we know how much of the material would pass “code”.

    Those living in the storm ravages south and are still having problems have run into brick walls. While there may still be those who haven’t done anything because of laziness, most are stuck in bureaucrat nightmares. If they don’t get the insurance money, they can’t pay to have the work done. Too often they don’t have the skills or physical ability to do it themselves.

    So while what the Amish community did is admirable, it is quite possibly illegal and wouldn’t pass building codes. Which is fine with the right wingers that wouldn’t things like this hold them back. It also gives further fuel to the right wingers to say the blame lies with the victims instead of the insurance companies and bureaucrats.

  26. Dan Atkinson says:

    It makes you wonder doesn’t it…

    Those shifty Amish folk with their techno-less lifestyle were able to pick up on the fact that they knew someones house was destroyed. Maybe the Amish have super-senses. Because it’s not as if Billy Bob could send an email to the Grand High Priest of Amishville and mobilise the troops with their cheap, but quality rugs and their hammers, chisels and non-electric stuff.

    Maybe they can hear me type this right now. Maybe they’re watching me too.

    Either way, they won’t be reading this any time soon. That is, until they get themselves some Internet!

  27. jmolek28 says:

    I live in Pennsylvania and this is quite common. and for one of the first comments, they use nails.


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