Good Samaritans make tornado recovery a bit less painful

(CBS News) MOORE, Okla. - One week after the tornado that damaged 12,000 homes in Moore, Okla., the city has turned its attention fully to recovery.

Rebuilding will not be easy, but the people of Moore will not be doing it alone.

Joe Mallo
Joe Mallo
CBS News

Joe Mallo woke up beside a church parking lot this morning, but he headed to a worksite Monday.

He's got bricks to move and heirlooms to find, sifting through masses of rubble.

"I came because I know what being a part of something like this feels like, and I know it's an amazing thing to do, and I wanted to feel that, I wanted to experience that," Mallo said.

The carpenter drove 24 hours from New York City just to help out in Moore. But if you think that he is one a million, just look at the army behind him. Volunteers are everywhere raking and moving and hauling. In most cases, they don't even know who owns the home -- just that it needs salvaging.

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Like Tom Mayberry from Joplin, Missouri, who skipped his 34th wedding anniversary to join the effort. When asked if he feels like a hero, he laughed and said "no, I don't."

Tricia Iven is a physician's assistant who came from Tulsa, Okla., with her family. Her medical skills are being put to good use, but she's also been doing some counseling.

"We've been doing emotional treatment too," she said. "You have to joke and you have to keep a light heart because otherwise you go to the other extreme, and I treated several people at the clinic who were just hysterical and bawling and couldn't come to terms with what had happened."

Joe Mallo digs through the rubble of a tornado-ravaged house in Moore, Okla.
Joe Mallo digs through the rubble of a tornado-ravaged house in Moore, Okla.
CBS News

From free lunches to free massages, the outpouring of support is overwhelming. A warehouse can barely hold all the good wishes, and the donations just keep on piling.

The people of Moore know they're lucky to get the help after being a bit unlucky in life. They're happy that volunteers are making the journey. Joe Mallo is just happy he can get behind them.

"That is one thing too -- the hugs. You get the best quality hugs out here that you could possibly imagine," he said. "It's almost like, wait a second, who's gonna stop first? I don't want to be the one who stops first because this is just too good!"

With all this mess there is a lot of organization. There are piles for bricks, for lumber and personal belongings. CBS News is told bulldozers will come along later to haul it all away.