Tribute to tornado volunteers

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – As we count down to the final hours of 2010, many of you are still picking up the pieces of the E-F3 tornado that carved its way through east Lufkin a week ago Wednesday. During the past week we have captured moments of neighbors and in many cases complete strangers lending a hand to tornado victims. Many of you spent the holidays helping a community overcome devastation together.

"It will be a while before we can gather things back together," said Evelyn Bogan just hours after a tornado ripped through her neighborhood.

With that, you were off and running on Christmas eve. Together you helped neighbors and strangers get through a rare EF-3 tornado.

"Especially people in the neighborhood that have pulled together and helped one another if it was no more than a chainsaw, 'let me cut down a tree for you, let me move some debris from your yard,' you know," said Bogan.

You met new faces. "All the people that came by initially were strangers," said Eddie Fisher while holding a tarp from the American Red Cross.

As you picked-up people's lives and etched away the damage, you engraved a memory they won't forget.

"A father and five sons...they helped me cut down the trees out of the roof," said Fisher.

"Actually getting out of the car, getting your hands dirty and helping people like this right here," said Robert Shankle as he looked at a mobile home flipped to its side.

You did more than just get out of your car; you even loaned your keys. "Friends and relatives have really been very, very good at sharing vehicles," said Bogan.

Donations poured out of your home. "Here's school uniforms for kids," said Bogan as she showed us a donated box.

"I think we've gotten so many times that we're going to have to open another room," said JoAnn Arnold, volunteer.

"The Red Cross has been through about three times," said Fisher. "They came after the storm to bring me tarps."

You didn't stop. You kept giving, expecting nothing in return. "They didn't want to accept any type of donations," said Fisher. "They just wanted to help out for the love in their heart, so that was payment for them."

Together, caring, committed, proud, you helped put people's lives back in order.

"As a community, everyone pulled together and it was done and everyone is alive and they're safe and I thank God for that," said Bogan.

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