Small Town Deals With Tornado Fallout


Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 10:53 pm
By: News On 6


Some are still waiting for help; two weeks after a tornado devastated their community.  News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports the storm destroyed a dozen homes in Yanush, Oklahoma, and damaged 40 more.

The tornado may have toppled some of their homes, but not their spirits.  The community is counting on each person to organize to get the help so many of them need.

Life is steadily getting back to normal for the Reese family.

 "You look at it now you don't realize it it was pretty scary," said Ester Reese.

A tornado tore through the tiny town of Yanush two weeks ago taking part of Esther Reese's home with it.  Her neighbor Eugene Brown lost his workshop and the roof of his home.

"The whole roof went.  It was over before we knew what happened," said Eugene Brown.

But, they say it could have been a whole lot worse.  Some of their neighbors lost everything.  That's why this community is standing together trying to get help for everyone

"They have to wait and see what they can do because they don't have the money you know," said Eugene Brown.

After weeks of waiting, FEMA arrived to survey the damage, but the Browns couldn't wait. Volunteers and the Choctaw Nation pitched in to get him a new roof. And now, the people of Yanush are pulling together looking for other solutions for problems that have piled up all around them.

Even though the process has been slow, folks say they are not bitter.

"Picher did have it a lot worse with deaths.  We had one injury so we are fortunate," said Ester Reese.

"We have a better community than we had before the tornado got here and we realize friends are more precious than they have ever been," said Eugene Brown.

Folks are just brainstorming for ideas right now.  They're also encouraging everyone to call FEMA directly.  They hope the calls will show FEMA just how much its assistance is needed.