Volunteers Aid Tornado Victims

It took only seconds for a tornado to sweep through Rusk County Sunday, leaving dozens of families without homes. A week later, families and volunteers from local churches and charities are still cleaning up the mess. The path of destruction runs between the southern corners of the county.

There's probably about 100 families still without homes or facing severe damages, estimates Rev. David Banks with Tatum Methodist Church. Banks has been organizing clean up crews since the onset of the tragedy. Fifteen of his volunteers headed out to the debris field early Saturday morning.

"Really what I'm trying to do is connect people with people," he says. "Connecting volunteers with people needing help."

For families who barely missed the storm's path, volunteering seemed an easy choice. Shirley Tatum brought her niece along Saturday to help those less fortunate.

"It's fulfilling for me to get out and help," says Tatum. "We're just going around helping people box things up, so they can move out of their homes or rebuild."

Despite the dent volunteers made all week, Banks says more crews are needed, especially those with plumbing and carpentry skills.

To make the struggle easier, Tatum Lions Club is giving families who lost their homes $500 to cover a down payment on their next residence. Any families who think they qualify, can call Texas Bank in Tatum.

Kerri Panchuk Reporting