Local early reponse team members recall "heartbreaking" Granbury clean up

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

DENISON, TX -- 13 volunteers with Denison's Waples United Methodist Church Early Response Team headed south last Thursday, to clean up debris. It's the first time the team has been called out, and they say seeing the damage first-hand was heartbreaking.

It was May 15 when this EF-4 tornado tore through Granbury, leaving a path of destruction in it's wake. Two weeks later, the clean up is underway and volunteers are coming from all over, including Denison, to offer their support.

Last Thursday, 13 of the 35 members of the Waples United Methodist Church Early Response Team headed out.

"We were anxious to go, but yet we didn't really know what were actually going to get into," team leader Gary Hale said.

"When you see it on TV it just doesn't quite do it justice when you see it in person" Staci Avila said.

The group helped clear debris. They say though it was hard work, it was well worth it. Team leader Gary Hale says he was approached by a homeowner whose two daughters were severely injured.

"He and his two kids were in the bathroom when the tornado hit. And he showed me where they were and the only thing left on that foundation was the toilet," Hale said. "You know, you see the debris and it's ok to be cleaning and working with that. But then when you talk to the homeowners and personalize it, it breaks your heart."

This is the first time the Waple's team has been called out. Just last month, the church had it's dedication ceremony for this new trailer equipped with saws, a ladder and several other tools. Volunteers complete a year-long training and they're there to provide a Christian presence.

"We just felt like there was a definite need, and our church needed to be involved in doing something like this. And we just wanted to help others," volunteer Dorothy Hale said.

"I think after having gone now we're all eager to go and help in Moore. If we're called to go there, we're ready," Avila.

Hale says the trip to Granbury helped them realize their disaster trailer lacks some supplies. They need help with donations and are having a benefit dinner June 5, at 5:30 at the Waples United Methodist Church.

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