California Couple Trade Retirement For Rebuilding - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

California Couple Trade Retirement For Rebuilding

California native Chip Rumis traded in retirement for rebuilding storm battered Mississippi churches. 

"Our goal is to get churches that haven't been in the affected area to come down and adopt a church down here and help them rebuild their church and get their congregations back together," says Rumis.

Rumis, his wife Jean, and other volunteers hope to set an example with their work on six Hattiesburg churches and now on the Coast. They basically started with a slab and block walls at the St. Mark's AME church in Waveland. 

"We've had to replace everything, heating, ventilation, plumbing, electrical. We're steel studding all the walls, new drywall, new insulation, new doors."

The volunteers are local and from California. John Dunnam put Hattiesburg churches back together using his electrician skills. Now they come in handy in Waveland. 

"We got some damage, but nothing like down here. And when you see people who don't have anything, you just got to help," Dunnam says.

It's a family affair for Rumis. Along with his wife, their son C.J. is pitching in too. 

"I've been to some pretty rough parts of Mexico that looked better than this, so I really had no clue what it looked like or what we were up against," he says.  

That uncertainty didn't stop C.J. or his folks from leaving San Diego and devoting their lives to helping those who need it most.

byMarcia Hill

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