MOUNT ENTERPRISE, Texas (KETK) – Many East Texans are without a home after tornadoes ripped through several communities on Saturday night. A Panola County woman was killed by a falling tree and the town of Mount Enterprise, in Rusk County, was hit hard.
As soon as the sun rose Sunday morning, neighbors gathered to help each other and clean up the damage.
KETK’s Cynthia McLaughlin visited the area to show us how the residents are getting ready to rebuild.
Snapped trees and homes missing a roof are just a few of the massive clean up projects in Mount Enterprise.
“The sun roof in the house, it’s gone,” said Iqueria Johnson, resident.
Church goers skipped Sunday service to grab what they can.
“They have a mind of work, that’s in the scripture so it’s great to see,” said Bryan Sellers, senior pastor of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church.
“Don’t underestimate the power of rednecks with tractors,” said Jacob Waldron, youth pastor.
The pastor of Landmark Missionary Baptist Church and his wife welcomed some of their members to seek shelter there.
“We started thinking about the people that lived in trailers first and Jacob, our youth pastor was the first one that came to mind,” said Jill Sellers, teacher at Mount Enterprise ISD.
Other than some missing shingles, this church building is good as ever. A different story, though, just down the road.
When severe weather strikes in East Texas, broken trees and some shingles tossed about is a common occurrence. But when wind speeds are as strong as they were Saturday night, you’ll see something unusual, like a street sign from a half mile away tossed into this backyard.
“It came from the old bluebonnet building all the way into our backyard,” said Johnson.
Iqueria Johnson and her family of five hid in a closet when the tornado passed through.
“It kind of lifted us up and set us right back down,” said Johnson.
Johnson says home repairs could take weeks, and she’s not alone.
“That’s what we experience here in East Texas. Trees falling straight down and just demolishing these houses,” said David Chenault, Public Information Officer with Rusk County Office of Emergency Management.
Trees also to blame for more than a thousand residents without electricity Sunday.
“The trees did snap our power lines and they were in the driveway,” said Sellers.
People came all the way from Louisiana to lend a helping hand to this community.
The sign outside of this East Texas church reads “there shall be showers of blessings,” which is fitting after such an emotional weekend. These residents show that sometimes we have to weather the storm to see a brighter tomorrow.