Recovery efforts have begun in Orrick as volunteers helps residents get back on their feet. The town of around 800 residents is in cleanup mode after it took a direct hit from an EF-2 tornado Saturday evening.
ORRICK, MO (KCTV) -
Recovery efforts have begun in Orrick as volunteers help residents get back on their feet.
The town of about 800 residents is in cleanup mode after it took a direct hit from an EF-2 tornado Saturday evening.
There is still debris everywhere. The town needs a lot of help, especially since it is too small to qualify for federal assistance.
But there are lots of people stepping up to the challenge.You can hear the sounds of saws and see people shoveling away debris.
Friends and family rushed to Ron Callaway's rescue Sunday. Without them, he wouldn't know how to begin cleaning up the mess in his yard and home.
"I tell you what. I've had a lot of help today. I come out, and I got brothers and friends and everybody out here," he said.
One of the challenges for the town is finding out exactly what people need. Crews are focused on restoring power and clearing the streets to make it safe.
"There is still danger. Especially in the dark without power, people wandering around. We still have power lines on the ground. We still have sharp debris," said Ray County 911 Director Nathan Preston.
Many volunteers, like Mike Hibbard and Jerry Palmer, are working to determine specific ways to help.
"The ones we've been talking to today need help with tarps on the roofs that are gone or there are holes or trees on the roofs," Hibbard said.
And on a Sunday evening in a small town, many people need spiritual help too.
"We spend time with them and ask them to tell us their experience. That helps them get through it," Palmer said.
But for Callaway and others, any offer to help is a small but welcome gesture.
"People have been great, coming around to ask if you need help or anything," he said.
Kansas City Power & Light has restored power to most of the town.
A group of workers from Ace Auto in Lee's Summit are among those in Orrick helping out. They came to the aid of a Vietnam War veteran who is older and needing help clearing his property.
After helping that man out, they then began to provide aid to others needing assistance because they don't have the necessary equipment.
The company is donating the labor, some supplies and equipment. They will seek reimbursement from insurance providers when possible.
"This is not something we can in to make a profit off of. This is sad," said Thomas Shier of Ace Auto. "There's a lot of people who can't afford to do this."
Religious groups were among those flocking to Orrick to provide much-needed aid, including clearing streets and lawns. Volunteers include retired linemen, electricians and contractors.
"Whenever there's a storm, we are willing to go and help," said David Beachy of Christian Aide Ministries.
Volunteers said they feel blessed to be able to provide the hope and healing to storm victims.
Dwain Carter, disaster relief director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, has become used to sleeping on an air mattress and showering in outdoor trailers.
"We just know that we're doing what God wants us to do, so you take the good with the bad and you just do the things that you're supposed to do," Carter said.
The group travels all over the country, but they say the level of community spirit in Orrick is unusual.
"Even before we arrived, cleanup was already started. That's just rural Missouri," Charles McCrary said.
But at the end of the day, a little fellowship goes a long way.
"It's very tiring but very rewarding. We go to bless other people, but we get blessed even more," Marjory Klingenberg said.
Many of the volunteers have dedicated 20 weeks out of the year, responding to disasters including tornados.
"I'm kind of used to that, because we do this a lot. But we are always glad to get back in bed after it's all done," Klingenberg said.
The Missouri Baptist Convention volunteers say they will stay in Orrick all week if needed. They say their two biggest tasks in town are cleaning up debris and patching up roofs with tarps to keep what is left dry.
KCTV5's DeAnn Smith and Heather Staggers contributed to this report.
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