‘We’re going to build back:’ Rolling Fork residents share their stories, grapple with what’s next

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 8:51 PM CDT
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ROLLING FORK, Miss. (WLBT) - Storm survivors in Rolling Fork continue to grapple with what is now their new reality.

All the survivors have stories to tell, and no two are the same. However, one chapter in almost every story you’ll hear is about rebuilding.

In fact, the sound of construction is unavoidable in Rolling Fork.

But when residents look back to Friday night, some say they heard a much worse sound.

“We could here our neighbors calling out for help, crying for help,” Ruby Williams said.

“Just to stand out on the driveway and hear people cry out for help and not being able to help them was probably the hardest thing. The only thing I could do then was pray,” Roy Sias said.

Williams and her husband, Wayne, moved into their house six years ago. They say all the damage the storms did to their house happened in a matter of about 60 seconds.

“The meteorologist came on and said, ‘If you’re in Rolling Fork, please take cover. It’s right over you all,’” Williams said. “My husband grabbed the pillows and said, ‘We are going to get in our safe space.’ By the time he pushed me down, laid on me, and closed the door, it hit.”

As the Williams begin to clean up their property and rebuild, they’re taking time to count their blessings.

For them, the biggest blessing of all is the fact that their daughter and grandchildren weren’t with them as disaster struck.

“They were getting ready to come home Friday night, and our daughter said, ‘Well, I’ll just wait until the morning to come,’” Williams said. “Had she and our grandchildren been here, they would’ve been on that side of the house that got destroyed.”

Roy and Zachary Sias are counting their blessings too.

“When it comes to life, you can’t replace that. A house and material things you can,” Roy said.

It’s not Roy’s first time losing everything.

“I remember being seven years old and asking my dad, ‘Hey dad, what are we going to do?’ He said, ‘Son, we’re going to build back,’” Roy said. “That’s the same thing I told [Zachary]. I said, ‘Regardless of how hard it is, we’re going to pull our pants up and build back.’”

Both the Williams and the Sias families say, without a doubt, they plan to rebuild in Rolling Fork.

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