Relief Pours In For Arkansas Tornado Victims

Monday, January 3rd 2011, 5:22 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

CINCINNATI, Arkansas -- In tiny Cincinnati, Arkansas, the New Year is underway with the difficult job of cleaning up after an EF 3 tornado wrapped up 2010 with so much sadness and loss.

"Find their stuff and start putting their lives back together," said Shawn Shrum, Washington County employee.

The twister, with winds of up to 140 miles per hour, killed three people and destroyed much in its path on New Year's Eve.  The fire station was taken down to its slab and more than 30 homes and businesses are damaged or destroyed.

1/1/2011 Related Story: Cleanup Continues In NW Arkansas Town Hit By Tornado

Thankfully, Barbara Porter's daughters' family was away when the tornado destroyed their home. Her 95-year-old mother-in-law wasn't as fortunate.

"It wiped that house out and we found her in the road," Porter said. "She's not going to make it. She is still in Washington Regional, but there's no hope for her recovery. She's got so many injuries."

While heartbreaking, what is now happening in Cincinnatti in many ways is also heartwarming.

"God will get us through it," said Reverend Andy Newbill.

First United Methodist Church Pastor Andy Newbill says among the destruction, look closely and you'll also see love, generosity and goodness. Newbill's church is the heart of the relief effort. Volunteers are making meals. The pews are full of donated items.

"One little girl came in yesterday and said I would like to give money to help. Here is my allowance," Reverend Newbill said.

If there is anything good to come from such a terrible tragedy, it is that there are so many people who care, so many willing to make a difference.

"We see God in the track hoe, we see God in the helicopter that was here, We see God in the people that are coming to help," Reverend Newbill said.

A public meeting will be held this Thursday morning, January 6, 2011, at 9 a.m. at the Methodist Church in Cincinnati to better organize efforts to transition from cleanup to rebuilding.

A relief fund is also set up at the Arvest bank branch in Lincoln, Arkansas.