Community works to rebuild following deadly storms

Alto Storm Damage

ALTO, TX (KLTV) - Two days after deadly tornadoes struck Cherokee County, the community is shifting from shock to recovery.

The morning began early with a men’s group lifting up a suffering city.

"Last night as everyone was winding down and wore out, we said ‘are we going to have Bible study?’ " Pastor Ron Rose said. Rose is the pastor for The River Church in Alto. “We just agreed that we probably needed it.”

The River Church is providing more than just supplies, they’re also giving hope to those who have lost more than they could have ever imagined.

“Someone asked me the other day, 'What made you decide to open a shelter?” the pastor said.

He responded that he didn’t know that he ever made that decision, they’re simply meeting the needs of their community as they aim to do every week.

“The Lord keeps on blessing us,” said Retie Mitchell, storm survivor.

Many like Mitchell have been staying at the River Church. The nights are too cold to spend at home.

“They couldn’t make no promises about the lights but they hope it won’t be too long before they’re back on,” Mitchell said.

Alongside the lineman are people like Bob Grammer.

“If you can walk through here without falling, these are our offices inside. Even though it doesn’t look like much,” he said.

The roof and supplies to his 100-year-old metal shop were twisted and bent by the power of Saturday’s second twister.

“The magnificent trees that we had in all these neighborhoods, we won’t see them again in our lifetime that’s for sure,” he said.

Power is the main concern for hundreds of linemen working to get the city up and running again. The debris left behind and cleanup efforts will likely take weeks, if not months.

Alto won’t look the same for a while but community members say, “We will rebuild.”

To help the victims of these storms, click here to donate to either the American Red Cross or the East Texas Food Bank. Both agencies are working daily in these storm-impacted areas of East Texas.

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