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Paul Arnold wiped his brow as he stood in the shade of a tree Thursday at Mill Race Park and broke into a huge grin as afternoon temperatures hovered around 100 degrees.
“God sure provided the help when we needed it,” Arnold said.
He and other volunteers were helping to prepare for today’s Summer Music Fest, a benefit for the tornado victims of the March 2 storms in southern Indiana.
About 25 high school students from St. Philip the Deacon Church in Plymouth, Minn., spent most of Thursday putting up fencing, setting tent spikes and doing other work around the park to get ready for the country music concert, which runs 2 to 10 p.m.
“They’ve been working their tails off,” Arnold said of the teens, who took short breaks in air-conditioned recreational vehicles before going back to work in the sun-filled park.
Arnold, who owns a construction company in Seymour, was mentally checking off the long list of work that needed to be done before Saturday.
Volunteers are needed today and Saturday for various tasks. They can ask for Arnold at the park, who will direct them to specific jobs.
Jeremy Lahaie, pastoral associate at the Minnesota church, learned about the need here from Columbus resident Betty Gerkin, who went to the United Way in Henryville seeking assistance.
Lahaie said the youth group was in Indiana on a week-long mission trip where they were helping clear wooded areas in the Henryville area, and they were glad to make a temporary detour to Columbus.
The heat was a little tough to deal with, but Lahaie said last year they helped clean up after the tornado damage in Joplin, Mo., and faced similar high temperatures.
Back home, it was about 98 degrees anyway, Lahaie said.
Money raised Saturday will be used to help the Indiana tornado victims rebuild homes and help the town repair such buildings as community centers and churches.
The day will have plenty of good music, Arnold said, and the hot weather’s not all bad: People will be buying plenty of cold drinks, and the proceeds will go to the tornado victims’ fund.
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