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★★★★★★★★★★★★ Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Published July 3, 2013


2 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit or 237 years, we Americans have commemorated the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 with speeches, fireworks, barbecues and parades.

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The adoption of the Declaration of Independence happened just after the Second Continental Congress voted for the United States to be legally independent of Great Britain. For years, the Hood County News has published a special section in honor of the July 4th holiday to commemorate our independence and

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

the freedoms we all share thanks to the sacrifices of others. But this year, we have chosen instead to focus on our dependence. We are commemorating those who answered the call when an EF-4 tornado devastated a neighborhood in our community. Many were left homeless. Some were forced to say goodbye to loved ones for whom the twister showed no mercy. For all our independence as a nation, we are inherently dependent as a community. The fact that our neighbors are here to sustain us in time of need, we feel, is worth celebrating. MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS

On the Cover Crews from all nine volunteer fire departments in Hood County responded to the Rancho Brazos subdivision on May 15, 2013, the night the tornado struck. They, along with EMS and other first responders and a wide variety of law enforcement agencies, completed the task of evacuating and searching the entire neighborhood for fatalities in an hour and a half. That’s according to Granbury VFD Fire Chief Darrell Grober, who was in charge of the incident command over the firefighters and law enforcement agencies at the scene and worked closely with Granbury Police Chief Mitch Galvan. Grober estimated that 250 professionals and volunteers joined in the crucial search of the subdivision - aided by command lights on the various rescue trucks because the subdivision was without power. “Everybody did work together extremely well - as one team,” Grober said. “With God’s help, it went really well. Everybody did an awesome job.”

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able, hard working representative for the American Red Cross when disaster strikes in Hood County. He and other local Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly providing emergency assistance on scene in the immediate aftermath of the devasting May 15 tornado that tore through the Rancho Brazos neighborhood. As Habitat for Humanity of Hood County volunteers, Fishencord and fellow Red Cross representative Alan Sloan helped build most of the Habitat for Humanity homes damaged or destroyed by the tornado.

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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4 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brave Emergency Medical Services Supervisor Cliff Montemayor takes a moment to look out over the scene of the devastation after the tornado hit Rancho Brazos on May 15. Among the many first responders were countless EMS workers, paramedics, nurses and medics, who were on the front lines ready to care for victims who experienced numerous injuries and found themselves without shelter. The scene resembled something out of a M*A*S*H episode as they worked amidst stormy conditions and unstable surroundings.

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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6 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

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Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS

Many groups and individuals came to the aid of Rancho Brazos residents after the tornado, but probably no group worked harder than the volunteers at Mission Granbury, under the leadership of tireless Executive Director April Mitchell. Some of Mission Granbury’s volunteers are pictured here, in a holding area where donated items of all kinds were available for those forced to rebuild their lives.


PRIDE 7

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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Giving MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS

Ben and Margret Fields, founders of Project-44, are helping some tornado victims with a need that could otherwise be overlooked. They have been rounding up and repairing donated vehicles to replace some of those knocked out of service in the May 15 storm. Ben said the organization is not connected to a specific church, but its name was drawn from the inspirational Christian writings found in Acts - the 44th book in the Bible. “Our goal is to be like the disciples, to be immediately there for people who are hurting or are desperate,” said Ben, who has his own vehicle repair shop in Fort Worth. Donated vehicles that need attention are put back in working order at his shop before being given to those with the greatest transportation needs. “So many people are in desperate situations,” Ben said.

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8 PRIDE Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Compassionate People Helping People was on hand to help victims of the May 15 tornado that hit Rancho Brazos. The program, which is best known for aiding needy families with food and clothing, worked extended hours with tornado victims and volunteer organizers to fulfill needs of food, clothing, houseware, etc. Pictured from the People Helping are (from left) Gaynell Wertz, Ermine Laurence, Gladys Sincel and James Eagle.

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

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10 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Committed The six people who did not survive the May 15 tornado in the Rancho Brazos subdivision had to be pronounced dead and be connected with both nextof-kin and funeral homes, and that job belonged to Justices of the Peace Danny Tuggle (Precinct 4) (left)and Judy Watson (Precinct 3). “It was heart-wrenching,” Watson said. “I felt very emotional. I was really strong for about two days, and then it all just hit me and I fell apart. It left an empty, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.” Watson described the feeling as “amazing” from being among the agencies and organizations that worked together. She added, “That night, it was like we were a family. It was like we had lost someone, too. We comforted each other. It was wonderful. It was all handled in a way that made me proud to be a part of it.”

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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12 PRIDE Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Carol and Steve Davidson have long been the faces of Habitat, but they havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t done it alone. It was a strong volunteer base that built the five dozen homes in the Habitat neighborhood inside Rancho Brazos. The Davidsons and Habitat are back in action rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by the tornado.

Selfless MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS

16 PRIDE Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 2301 Acton Highway, has provided shelter for many of the tornado victims. Using its education building, as well as classrooms, each family was able to have its own room. Tornado victims also stayed at First Christian Church and hotels.

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18 PRIDE Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Nettles family was home when the tornado hit Rancho Brazos on May 15. They took refuge in the closet and bathroom and lasted out the nightmare, having to be pulled from the debris following the storm. Where they are standing was once the bedroom of their son Nathan, who joked this is the cleanest his room has ever been. The family plans to rebuild their home at another site in the Rancho Brazos neighborhood. From left: Angela (mother), Caitlyn (daughter, 15), Nathan (son, 12), Madalyn (daughter, 18) and Thomas (father).

Optimistic MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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20 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) played a huge role in the devastating May 15 tornado. CERT Public Information Officer Stephanie Parker’s post-tornado work is an extension of an internship in the county fire marshal’s office. Parker has logged countless hours in the tornado’s aftermath and is the chair of the long-range planning committee for the tornado cleanup and rebuilding effort. The Hood County Fire Marshal team members are (front row from left) Fire Marshal Ray Wilson and deputy Jessica Sanchez. Back from left: Kathryn Mullins, Stephanie Parker and deputy Jeff Young.

Valiant MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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22 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spirited John Knox, minister at the Granbury Church of Christ, was one of many - inside and outside the community - who helped direct aid and comfort from faithbased groups directly to tornado victims. The Christian Service Center behind the Church of Christ was used as a facility for post-tornado planning and for victims to meet with insurance providers and make other essential recovery connections. Supplies were delivered to the Church of Christ by the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief. Knox said he received a call from the Nashville-based organization, and by 4 p.m. on Friday - less than 48 hours after the tornado struck - a semi-trailer truck of supplies such as infant care boxes, food and various nonperishable immediate-need items arrived at the service center. “I think we came together in a spirit of service to those in need. That was the key,” Knox said. “We got a task accomplished with effort, and in a very positive spirit. Churches from out of town are still sending groups.” Trucks from many churches and organizations brought supplies to town following the May 15 tornado.

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


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24 PRIDE Celebrating Hood County’s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Determined Billy Clark, a 25-year-old officer with Hood County Animal Control who lives on Sundown Trail in the tornado-ravaged Rancho Brazos subdivision, helped get several badly injured neighbors to muchneeded medical care soon after the storm passed. He also helped rescue pets after the storm. “Nothing was left,” Clark said of how the neighborhood looked when he and his wife and his grandmother came outside after surviving the storm in a closet inside their Habitat for Humanity home, which survived mostly intact. “The whole neighborhood was messed up. It looked like a bulldozer went through.” Clark said they tried to drive five or six people to safety in his pickup, but couldn’t make it all the way out because of debris blocking the streets. “No one was really saying anything,” Clark said. “They were just standing there, kind of in shock.” When he could drive no farther, he and his wife Tina got out and carried the passengers to a spot where they could be handed off to paramedics and other first responders. One of the passengers was a woman who had been thrown from her home by the tornado and suffered a fractured neck. One of that woman’s sons also helped the Clarks carry severely wounded residents while avoiding downed power lines. Clark said his pickup ended up being totaled because of the damage it suffered during the short ride, which included driving into and over various items - including someone’s stove that landed in the roadway.

MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

PRIDE 25

Pamela Ennis Duff lives near Rancho Brazos. When the storm hit May 15, she said to herself, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Those are my kids out there.â&#x20AC;? Duff is director of the Rancho Brazos Boys and Girls Club sponsored through Acton United Methodist Church. Duff was on the scene, anxious to make contact with her â&#x20AC;&#x153;kidsâ&#x20AC;? after the storm passed. Duff and AUMC Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Minister Kim Howard have been working hard with volunteer efforts in the aftermath of the tornado. Duff is joined by some of her â&#x20AC;&#x153;kids,â&#x20AC;? from left: Hayden McNeese, Hector Juarez, Bryanna Langston, Alissa Biscardi, Duff and Addison Langston.

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26 PRIDE Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Larry Massoletti prepares to lead a group of bikers gathered for a post-tornado fundraiser. Local motorcycle enthusiasts met at the VFW Post for the Ride the Storm fundraiser to replace childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s toys lost to the May 15 tornado. Following the ride, the group gathered for a reception to honor first responders working the tornado scene in the Rancho Brazos neighborhood. The group raised $9,262.

Tenacious MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS


Hood County News Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrating Hood Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Enduring Spirit

PRIDE 27

Willing The Mobile Food Pantry organization extended a special invitation to storm and tornado victims following the disaster. Volunteers from Stonewater Church and others in the coalition manned the mobile food distribution last month. Operating under the umbrella of Neighbors Feeding Neighbors, the Mobile Pantry offers fresh foods on the third Saturday of each month at the campus of Granbury First United Methodist Church, 301 Loop 567. MARY VINSON | HOOD COUNTY NEWS

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