Texoma churches make trip to help Shawnee tornado victims - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Texoma churches make trip to help Shawnee tornado victims

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DURANT -- It's been two months since a series of tornadoes tore through the Oklahoma City area. While many communities have made great strides towards rebuilding, one, in particular, hasn't been as fortunate.

"You hear about it on TV, you see some things, you Google pictures but when you actually see a whole subdivision totally wiped out, it pretty much takes your breath," Pastor Dennis Henderson said.

Photos and video don't translate the damage done by an EF-4 tornado on television, but they do document a massive effort to help rebuild the town of Shawnee, Oklahoma by the hands of hundreds of Texomans.

"They didn't get the national news like Moore," Henderson said. "But the devastation is just as great."

Before dawn Saturday morning, about 240 people from five different local churches gathered in the parking lot of Sherman Bible, bound for the town torn apart by the twister.

Two people died and dozens of homes were leveled when it touched down in mid-May.

Now, more than two months later, Henderson says some families are still living out of tents initially set up for temporary shelter.

"Just the fact that a couple hundred people coming in, many were in tears, just the fact that they had some hope now that somebody was going to help them," Henderson said.

For twelve hours, volunteers helped rebuild porches, restore plumbing and electricity and lay the framework for new homes.

But Saturday's trip isn't the only relief effort in Texoma keeping Shawnee victims in mind.

The UPS store in Durant has collected more than two storage lockers full of supplies it's waiting to have delivered. Workers say the supplies were first going to Moore, then El Reno, but will now go to Shawnee after other the other two towns said they no longer needed the items.

"There are those lesser affected areas that you don't hear about on the news that were effected and they may still need things," UPS employee Tyler Slawson said.

Saturday's mission started off as a trip to Moore, too.

But Henderson says it was redirected at the last minute after they learned its victims in Shawnee that can still use as many hands on deck as they can get.

The group is planning another trip to Shawnee soon. Anyone interested in helping can contact Sherman Bible Church located at 2515 W Lamberth Rd, Sherman, or call (903) 893-7795.