Over 60 volunteers join Longino Baptist Church cleanup project
Debris removal one of biggest needs
Sunday, May 1, 2011 10:50 AM
Over 60 volunteers helped with a tornado cleanup Saturday organized by Longino Baptist Church.
Tim Edwards with Longino Baptist Church helped clean up the home of Edith Green. The home was one of the first hit by the tornado.
"The jobs can be picking up limbs to nailing shingles," Pastor Matthew White said prior to the cleanup. "We'll do whatever the person at the door needs."
Volunteers met at the church, located at 10061 Road 614, at 8 a.m. and went door-to-door and asked residents if they needed any help.
The volunteers also prayed with residents and gave away pound cakes. The cakes were labeled, "A pound of love from Longino Baptist Church." The cakes were baked and purchased by members of the church.
"Our job is to spend time offering spiritual as well as physical help," said White.
Volunteers brought anything that could be useful to help out.
The church also provided sandwiches, chips and drinks to volunteers and residents.
The Salvation Army set up a feeding unit at Coy Methodist Church off Mississippi 21 north at the county line in the near the hardest hit area.
The Rev. Ron Lloyd Schwake, pastor of the Coy church were more than half of the 90 members had damage to their homes, said one of the biggest concerns tornado victims have at the present time is debris removal.
The church is helping the Salvation Army provide hot lunches and dinners to Neshoba and Kemper County residents who sustained property damage during the storm, as well as emergency responders who are working to repair the damage.
They served more than 300 on Thursday.
Meanwhile, officials from the National Weather Service were in Neshoba and Kemper counties Friday afternoon assessing the 13.6 miles of destruction the tornado left in its path.
The tornado that touched down in Northwest Philadelphia about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday caused extensive damage to Northside Park and then tore through the Longino and North Bend communities in rural Neshoba County before moving through Coy and into Kemper County.
No serious injuries or deaths were reported in Neshoba County.
The tornado damaged or destroyed 46 homes leaving 32 people displaced.
Most power has been restored, officials said.
Emergency Management Director Jeff Mayo said the National Weather Service has determined that the Wednesday tornado was an EF-4 with a maximum force wind of 180 mph.
It had a width of about 600 feet when it crossed Road 614, he said, and had spread to larger than a quarter mile in width before the intersection of Road 491 and Mississippi 21 north.
Meanwhile, bulldozers were busy at work clearing Northside Park of downed trees and debris Friday as homeowners and farmers sorted through debris.
Members of the Truett Robertson family and others were picking up baby chicks and debris at their poultry farm off Mississippi 21 north which was destroyed by Wednesday's tornado.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, U. S. Congressman Greg Harper and state Sen. Giles Ward toured the devastation Friday morning with local leaders.
The men pledged to do whatever it took to help those affected by the storm.
Six poultry houses on county Road 759, owned by Mike and Truett Robertson, were demolished by the tornado.
Lynda Gail Robertson, wife of co-owner Mike Robertson, said that the houses contained two-day-old chickens when the storm hit.
"We are devastated that all we have worked for is gone," she said. "Six chicken houses [full of chicks], tractors, trucks, storage sheds, etc.....but we do know that it could have been so much worse."
Peco Foods is helping the Robertsons with clearing and picking up the chicks that were inside the houses when the tornado touched down.
On Mississippi 21 north, the home of Keith Fulton was destroyed while Fulton and friend Bobby Hardy huddled for safety in a bathtub.
The men had barely gotten into the tub and covered themselves with pillows and a blanket when the tornado hit.
"The next thing we heard was a crash," said Fulton, "and then it was quiet." Neither man was injured.
Getting out of the tub, Fulton told his friend: "Well, Bobby, I've lost everything I own."
Fulton along with family and friends were still shifting through debris on his property Friday afternoon.
To donate to the Salvation Army, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and specify Neshoba and Kemper county relief.