Quinn Daniel, left, and his two-year-old son Peyton are just happy to be alive after the EF-4 tornado destroyed their home, shown in the background. The Daniel family was on Mississippi 15 heading to Noxapater when the twister struck.
Quinn Daniel, left, and his two-year-old son Peyton are just happy to be alive after the EF-4 tornado destroyed their home, shown in the background. The Daniel family was on Mississippi 15 heading to Noxapater when the twister struck.
LOUISVILLE - A plywood company still plans to hire nearly 200 people here in the coming months after the unoccupied mill they planned to reopen was demolished during an April 28 killer tornado.

Gerald Mills, head of the Winston County Economic Development Partnership, said Natron Wood Products of Jasper, Oregon, was scheduled to start hiring on June 1, but that has been delayed.

The tornado cut a crescent-shaped swath almost a mile wide around the town of 6,600, destroying and damaging hundreds of buildings and killing 10.

"The tornado has delayed when it will be in operation. But the plywood company called me the night of the tornado and said they are still planning to come here," he said.

The company is leasing a building from the city, but the building is heavily damaged, he said.

"The building and some of their equipment that was in the building was damaged," said Mills. "We know the building is totaled, and it may be another two weeks before we can really clear and assess all the damage."

East Central Community College in Decatur is planning to work with Natron assisting with training programs.

Mills said, "This is a very positive thing and there is some hope. Having the company will provide many people with jobs from cutting timber to working at the actual plant."

Louisville resident Kevin Ryals said there's a long road to recovery, but he's optimistic.

"New volunteers continue to come in everyday to help," he said. "This fresh energy really uplifts our community as we try to rebuild.

"Though it is going to be a long process to recover from this, we cannot say thank you enough to the people from all over the U.S. who have come to help us."

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Legislature met in a three-hour session Thursday and approved $17 million to help pay for recovery from disasters, including tornadoes that recently pounded the state.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed the funding measure, Senate Bill 2001, and it became law immediately.

Under the bill that Bryant signed, the state will pay local governments' costs for debris removal. The state also will lend money to local governments for other expenses, and the communities will repay the state when they get paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This past Sunday a memorial service was held to honor the ones who lost their lives.

Community members as well as state and local leaders participated in the program at the Louisville High School auditorium. The victims were honored with a rose and the ringing of a bell.

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, who provided the keynote message, said, "Nothing could prepare us for what we saw in Louisville and Winston County. Ten precious lives were lost here in Winston County and our federal delegation is dedicated to make sure that all that can be done will be done."

The Winston County Crime Stoppers organization wants to make a strong statement against looting after the tornado.

Tom Bush, chairman of the Louisville Crime Stoppers, said they are increasing rewards to $250 for information leading to the arrests of looters.

"Families who have lost so much should not lose another dime to theft," he said. "Stealing from disaster victims is one of the worst crimes imaginable."

Anyone with information concerning Winston County crimes should call 662-773-9999 to make anonymous tips.

Winston County residents need to protect themselves from fraudulent contractors, officials said.

Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management professor with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said shoddy workmanship and price gouging are common following crises.

"The stressful recovery time makes homeowners easy targets for unethical workers taking advantage of people who are anxious to begin home repair work," Shaffett said. "Victims must be careful about hiring strangers to remove trees and do repair work. Read every agreement and credit contract carefully and evaluate it before signing."

Shaffett said homeowners should immediately contact their insurance companies, if insured. The insurance company may require specific procedures be followed to collect for repairs. If the homeowner is responsible for arranging for the repairs, there are certain precautions to follow.

Samaritan's Purse is requesting more volunteers to assist with sawing downed trees and limbs and moving them for the Winston County cleanup efforts.

Volunteers should check in at the Samaritan's Purse tent at the Louisville Coliseum at 201 Ivy Ave. or go online to http://www.samaritanspurse.org/.

All volunteers are encouraged to check in at the Louisville Coliseum, which will enable local officials to document volunteer work hours for essential compensation to the city and county from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Louisville Coliseum is continuing to serve as a warehouse and distribution center for victims of the tornado.

There is a need for nonperishable food, diapers, cleaning supplies and clothes.

A Winston County Relief Fund has been established for victims of the tornadoes.

To give to the tax-exempt disaster relief, send checks to: Winston County Disaster Relief Fund, Renasant Bank, 301 N. Church Ave., Louisville, MS 39339.

For those wishing to donate in-kind, please contact Louisville Mayor Will Hill's office at (662) 773-9201.

For more information contact numbers: 662-803-5295 or 662-803-5288. The number at the Louisville Coliseum is: (662) 773-7896.

-The Associated Press contributed to this story