As funerals for the 24 victims of Monday's EF-5 tornado in Moore, Okla., get under way, the recovery was hampered Thursday by a band of thunderstorms.
After two days conducting search and rescue in the Oklahoma city suburb, Tennessee Task Force One's 80 members and six K9s headed back for Memphis on Thursday.
Red Cross volunteers from the Mid-South have stepped in to lend a hand to the tornado victims.
The weather Thursday is making an awful situation much worse as Moore residents are dealing with rain, thunder, lightning, and hail. It's making the recovery effort much more difficult. Still, there are many people who have come to Moore to help out with the recovery.
More than 200 Red Cross volunteers have descended to Moore to lend assistance during the recovery. The volunteers are getting hot food out to the shelters.
"It's a good feeling, so people know that you're there that you've got their back," said veteran disaster worker Linda Bomes, who traveled from Memphis to lend a helping hand. "You've got a shoulder for them to cry on."
The Mid-South chapter sent three people and its emergency response vehicle to Moore.
"I love their mission, I love helping people," said Red Cross volunteer Janelle Wynn, who is on her first disaster relief effort. "So it was a natural for me to get involved with the Red Cross."
The volunteers were headed into a community where Moore residents need all the help they could get.
As many as 13,000 homes were destroyed by the storm.
Pastor Cliff Mansley of New Creation Church drove from Joplin, Mo. with a trailer for of supplies. Two years ago his community was hit by a massive tornado. Now they're the ones helping.
"My congregation wanted more than anything else ... to pay it forward," Pastor Mansley said.
Churches set up around the damage, handing out donated food, supplies and clothes to anyone who needs it.
"I have an 8-month-old and a 3-year-old," said Amber Kelley, storm survivor. "I have clothes but just the shoes, socks and things like that. We don't have any more. So it's just been great. Their help has been outstanding."
Major corporations are also helping out. Verizon brought a disaster response trailer so people can charge their phones or get online.
"We've had several people we've been able to help just coming up being able to charge," said Verizon representative Kevin Pierce, who also made the trip from Memphis. "Also while they're charging they're able to walk inside. They've used the Internet a pretty good bit, so that's been pretty good."
Donations from around the country are funding these relief efforts. Bomes has been through it before and she has advice for the survivors.
"You've got to take one step at a time and this is their start to rebuild," she said.
After a disaster like this one the first few days of the recovery effort are key. But the residents of Moore know they have a long road ahead. They're just hoping the rest of the country doesn't forget about them.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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