East Texans pack up to help tornado victims. (Source: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
In the wake of recent tornadoes, several East Texans have already packed up their things and are headed out to help in the recovery efforts in neighboring states. By Monday, 16 people were confirmed dead and hundreds of homes were destroyed.
Those responding to a call for help already had their bags packed by Monday morning.
“We’ll go up to Little Rock, Arkansas and we’ll report to the chapter and they’ll direct us where they want us to go,” Gary Garsee, a volunteer for The American Red Cross of Smith County, said.
On a moments notice, Gary and his driving partner, Marty Davis, are ready to go.
“I went to work this morning, in fact, I work Monday and Tuesday and I hadn’t been at work but 20 minutes and I got the call. I gotta go!” Garsee explained.
For Gary, this trip to Arkansas is fulfilling a promise.
“This was a dream of my brother-in-law and I to do together and we wanted to be partners on the truck together,” he said.
His brother-in-law died before they could make a trip together, so Monday it was up to Marty.
“It is so gratifying. The people are just so grateful for anything that you do,” Marty said. “You just see that they need anything or everything.”
Another East Texan, Amy Askew, started Angels Among Us, an organization out of Winnsboro, and plans on heading to Oklahoma later this week.
“I’ll be dropping off all my supplies and I’ll be just immediately jumping in to the clean-up crew,” Askew explained.
Amidst the destruction, volunteers said they’ll need construction tools, snacks, and baby supplies. But Amy said she’s hoping for lots of plastic bags because of what she found once before.
“Some pictures from someone’s wedding that was 30 miles away,” she remembered. “ We used our gallon baggies to collect those items and find the family.”
They’ve all got their reasons for going.
“It’s the weirdest thing you ever seen the way it just, it was just like a little girl had a dollhouse and set all the furniture in there, but nothing is there,” Garsee described.
They need you to help fill their trucks for the long road ahead. They said anything you would need in a situation like this is something they would want. There are locations all across East Texas to drop off supplies. If you would like to donate or help in the recovery and rebuilding efforts, click here.
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