By Rev. Mike Dowd
It seems hard to believe that we are several days removed from an E4 tornado hitting our community. The days have run together and one needs to check the calendar to make sure of the day, much less date.
The figures of destruction have been finalized as best they can be and in some cases as well as they will be. The tornado reportedly destroyed 276 houses, 149 received major damage and are not inhabitable and 50 apartments were destroyed as well. What hit our community hardest were the declared 10 fatalities. The path of destruction can be a very emotional thing to observe when you realize that those piles of rubble were once your friends' homes.
Our leadership and our community responded extremely well during this crisis. We are now moving into the second phase of this event. We are in the process of helping those affected to recover as much of their personal belongings from their destroyed homes as possible. Trees are being cut and power lines restored. The debris hauling and dumping continues.
The response from United Methodist churches has been wonderful. They have sent food, hygiene items, water and so much more. Work teams from neighboring churches have come and helped with clean up. Louisville First UMC members have been working 12 or more hours a day to unload a bounty of gifts and at the same time distribute these items to those in need.
The one difficulty is making contact with displaced home owners to make arrangements for a work team on their property. After clean up there will be more opportunity for work teams in the rebuilding phase. We are on pause for work teams.
Everyone in our community feels so blessed for the support we have received. And we know God was with us that night. To see the destruction in daylight, it is hard to believe we had less than a dozen fatalities. God will give us the strength to rebuild our community. Immediate needs for all those affected have been met because of this outpouring of love. It is agape love at its finest.
To follow updates on the Mississippi Conference response to the tornado click here.
Photo right: This home in Louisville was destroyed by the tornado on April 28. The photo taken by Rev. Mike Dowd.
Photo left: A community memorial service was held at Louisville High School to remember the ten Winston County residents killed in the April 28 tornado.