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Rebuilding Fair to provide answers

Date: 9/21/2011

Sept. 21, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD — People affected by the tornado that hit Western Massachusetts on June 1 will have an opportunity for additional “face-to-face” help on Sept. 28.

Nick Fyntrilakis, assistant vice president of Community Responsibility at MassMutual Life Insurance Company, explained to Reminder Publications the company will be sponsoring a Community Rebuilding Fair on from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the High School of Commerce on 415 State St.

Fyntrilakis emphasized the event is not just for Springfield residents, but also for anyone who has been suffered damage from the storm.

“The fair is also open to residents who were not affected by the tornado because we realize all homeowners have similar challenges regardless of the disaster,” he added.

Fyntrilakis said the idea for the fair came out of the listening tour through the neighborhoods of Springfield. Fyntrilakis serves as one of the two co-chairs of the city’s effort to form a master-rebuilding plan.

Some residents, Fyntrilakis explained, feel they are in a “maze” when it comes to getting answers on the many elements of the rebuilding and recovery process.

The fair will be geared for tenants, homeowners and business owners, he added, and the goal of the fair is to help property owners who are “hitting roadblocks.”

The event, which is free will also feature on-site childcare by Square One and refreshments will be provided.

Topics that can be addressed at the fair include legal, insurance, financial, housing, zoning, career, construction and sustainability issues assistance. Parenting Coach Bill Corbett of Cooperative Kids in Enfield, Conn., will also host informational sessions on how parents/teachers can address coping issues and answer any lingering questions their children may have about the disaster. MassMutual representatives will also be on hand to answer questions and take applications for LifeBridge — MassMutual’s free life insurance program that provides $50,000 10-year term life insurance policies to eligible parents to help protect their children’s educational future. MassMutual pays the premiums.

Among those businesses and organizations participating at the event are Cambridge Credit Counseling, Center for Eco Technology, the city of Springfield, DevelopSpringfield, Environmental Compliance Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Hampden County Bar Association, HAP Housing, MassHousing, Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition, Salvation Army, Small Business Administration, Springfield Neighborhood Housing, Springfield Parent Academy, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Springfield Preservation Trust, Square One, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Western Mass Electric Company and the YMCA of Greater Springfield.

“We know from many organizations that residents have outstanding questions or issues they are continuing to solve. This is an opportunity for families affected by the June 1 tornado and other residents to learn what resources remain available to them and to help families gain insight into often complicated insurance and housing processes that may take time to sort out,” Fyntrilakis said.

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