Lufkin Red Cross volunteers back from Alabama

Dale and Lynda Slagle are Red Cross volunteers.
Dale and Lynda Slagle are Red Cross volunteers.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Dale and Lynda Slagle are back from the largest destruction the American Red Cross has ever seen.

"When the tornado touched down, it left nothing," Dale Slagle said. "It's just like that hand of God decided he didn't want anymore of that there and he took it away along with people."

"My first sight of the destruction will never leave me," Lynda Slagle said. "That just blew my mind, as far as you could see."

For two weeks, the Slagles embarked on their first out-of-state mission with the Red Cross.

"Once we got checked in and stuff, they immediately sent us out on a water and supply run to a school that was being set up as a distribution point," Dale Slagle said.

They spent the majority of the trip in a Birmingham distribution warehouse getting supplies to affected areas.

"It was really hard work, but you didn't notice how hard of work it was because there was so much need everywhere," Lynda said.

"It's a good feeling to know that the work that you're doing to train others is put to action where it's needed," said Jeanie Miles, the Red Cross Disaster Service manager.

The American Red Cross classified the devastation as a Level 7 disaster area. That's bigger than Hurricane Katrina.

"Vehicles totally twisted, beat all to pieces," Dale said. "It looked like somebody took a wrecking ball to them. Just the amount of totaled, splintered destruction. Unless you saw a slab, you couldn't tell a house was ever there."

The retired registered nurses just returned to Lufkin, but their hearts remain in Alabama.

"It was hard to find someone that was not affected in some way, either themselves personally having lost property and belongings or relatives or friends," Dale said.

"You listen to them and you cry with them and that's all you can do," Lynda said.

Tornadoes left a lasting mark on Alabama, but it's a scar the Slagles want to help fade.

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