Texas Baptist Men continue cleanup in tornado-hit Hughes Springs

Texas Baptist Men’s chainsaw crews continue to serve East Texas weeks after tornadoes devastated the area.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:11 AM CST

HUGHES SPRINGS, Texas (KLTV) - A month after tornadoes ripped through East Texas, a disaster relief organization is still cleaning up the mess in Hughes Springs and surrounding communities.

The Texas Baptist Men spoke about what they have been doing to give hope to those impacted by the storms.

“I love our community because our community pulls forward,” said homeowner and tornado victim Nubia Cruz. “If you don’t know how to get something, we know somebody that can help you, and it’s just a very beautiful place to live in.”

Texas Baptist Men and their chainsaw team are in their third week of tornado relief following November’s tornadoes.

Cruz said she heard through Facebook that a tornado had caused a lot of damage in downtown Hughes Springs. She quickly learned that one of her investment properties had been damaged.

She said according to her insurance, they had about $137,000 worth of damage. This includes multiple large trees she believes to be several hundred years old.

Texas Baptist Men Foreman Bruce Slaven said their mission is to give hope, help and healing to those affected by the tornadoes.

“There is a tremendous amount of destruction out here in East Texas,” said Slaven. “Unfortunately, a lot of it was scattered, and so you wouldn’t know until you go a mile back off country roads, and you would find destruction, and this happened to be downtown.”

Cruz said at first she saw it as a disaster, but Texas Baptist Men changed her perspective.

“Through these people, I’ve been able to see the love of God,” said Cruz. “Instead of a disaster, I can see it as the love that God provides in their heart to be able to help, and so, what they do for us, it puts it in my heart to help others.”

She said she is thankful because they are putting in their time, leaving their families and not charging anything for the help. She said she has offered food to the crew, but it is already provided for them.

“So, there is nothing I can do to thank them, except pass the love of God forward, and I intend to do that...I do,” said Cruz.

Slaven said they are always seeking volunteers. He said the average volunteer is 71 years old, so not to let age keep you from getting involved.

Texas Baptist Men’s chainsaw crews continue to serve East Texas weeks after tornadoes devastated the area.