Church offers helping hands in tornado relief

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By Clairissa Cooper

Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Flower Mound and surrounding areas responded to an urgent request from the town of Bowie, Texas for tornado cleanup efforts.

Bowie, Texas sustained severe damage to over 300 homes and 50 businesses from a tornado that struck the area Friday, May 22. The National Weather service in Fort Worth confirmed an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds up to 95 mph occurred in the area, which sits about 65 miles northwest of Fort Worth.

Bowie Mayor Gaylynn Burris said that nearly every building in the town, which has about 5,000 people, experienced damage.

In coordination with the City of Bowie Volunteer Management Team, more than 50 volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Lewisville Stake were asked to come in as the town enacted phase two of its disaster relief efforts.

Volunteers were assigned specific streets and homes to take survey of needs and provide resources to families. Additionally, volunteers were asked to clear debris and take part in chainsaw crews to remove downed trees.

“The destruction was very sobering and the homeowners were touched and grateful for not only the service provided, but also for the fellowship,” said Steven Higbee of Flower Mound. “It felt so good to be put to use with other hard-working members of our Church. For me, this was the best Saturday I’ve experienced since the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“I was asked many times by residents why so many volunteers came and I was so thankful and happy to explain that we try to emulate the example our Savior gave us in serving,” said Stacy Holman, Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the Church of Jesus Christ in Denton.

The efforts were part of the Church of Jesus Christ’s Helping Hands program, which provides community service and disaster relief to those in need. Over 700 Latter-day Saint volunteers from across North Texas participated in the service.

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