BY JOSH PRESLEY
A local youth group took the time Saturday to travel to Louisville and assist those affected by April 28 tornadoes.
Seven youth and seven adults from First United Methodist Church in West Point cleaned up debris at two homes in Louisville, according to FUMC Office Manager Julie Gray. She said the first house belonged to an elderly couple, and the second belonged to a resident who ran an antique shop out of her shed. Gray said the sheds of both homes were demolished and the yards were littered with debris.
“We moved a lot of the debris to the street for the elderly couple,” Gray said. “The other home was two houses down, and we weren’t able to completely finish that one because there were a lot of really big items.”
Gray said the group sorted through what could be saved and carried the rest to the street to be removed. The group worked until mid-afternoon, she said, when volunteers quit due to heat.
FUMC Summer Youth Director Michael Lindsay said seeing the damage in Louisville was bizarre because houses would be destroyed on one side of the street, and completely untouched on the other side.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Lindsay said. “Cleanup and rebuilding are going to be long processes, but the families we helped were very appreciative and said we were a godsend.”
FUMC member Sandy Henley said she’d seen the devastation on TV, but seeing it in person was overwhelming. She said it was good for the youth to see, so they can appreciate what they have.
“The couple we helped really touched my heart,” Henley said. “The man told me when the tornado came through, he and his wife got in the hallway and got on their knees and said ,’If we go, we go together.’”
Gray said the FUMC youth group also collected water and cleaning supplies for the tornado victims in May. The group collected through church members and the youth also set up at Sunflower on May 17.
“After the tornadoes hit, we wanted to do something pretty fast,” Gray said. “We always try to find mission work to expose our youth to, and sometimes we have to go far off to do that, but in this case we had people right here that needed help.”
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