FERNDALE, Ark. (KTHV) – One hundred-fifty residents worked with Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Saturday to help clean up Ferndale. There are still about 50 homes with damage from April's tornado, and some of the homes are surrounded by debris and chunks of metal.
The church worked with residents from all over the state who volunteered their time and equipment. They brought tractors, skid-steers, track-hoes and chainsaws. Several organizations and other churches around the state also supported the efforts.
Pastor Chris Kinzler said he's amazed at how neighbors in the community have come together and sacrificed their well-being for others.
"I went to one neighbor and they were like 'No, my neighbor needs help more,'" Kinzler described."That's been kind of neat to see—that it's not about them. They want to see their neighbors helped more than they want the help themselves."
"The creek is full of debris and limbs and big trees. The next major flood that comes down is going to back up, it's going to affect everyone in the valley," said Duke Walker, who is grateful for the people volunteering their equipment and their time.
"You see, there's Christmas lights in this tree. Yea it was our farm, our farm tree," added Linda Blagg, Walker's neighbor. She said a week after the April's tornado hit, she still felt the shock. "It's like you're looking at stuff, and it's just not going in. It's not computing; it's like this is a stranger. This is not my place."
The tornado took three barns, a mobile home, a well house, and more than 1,200 trees. Blagg feels like the entire forest fell.
"I don't know how to even describe this because it's just devastation, and destruction," she continued.
Blagg added that if it weren't for friends and the help of the church, it would feel impossible moving on.
"I don't know what I would do without my friends and the church," she concluded. "I mean it's a lot of work, you know? Sometimes you just have to get strength from our endless source—God—to keep going."