Tornado brings outpouring of donations, volunteers

May 18, 2013

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The day after a tornado destroyed the Rancho Brazos neighborhood, Hood County was hit with a flood.

Donations and offers of help came pouring in to such an extent that relief effort coordinators asked people to stop.

“Enough!” Jeff Watson of the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross said good-naturedly to a group of about 60 people who gathered Thursday morning in the sanctuary of First Christian Church on Highway 377. “Honestly, I’m just overwhelmed.”

Watson said that Hood County residents had been “generous to a fault.”

Later in the day, Granbury Fire Chief Darrell Grober asked that people stop bringing to the fire station gifts of food and drinks for firefighters and other emergency responders.

Grober said everyone was “grateful” for the gifts, but they had come in such abundance that nothing further was needed.

“The community spirit is very much alive in Hood County,” volunteer Rick Frye told the crowd at First Christian Church.

Frye, who served as mayor of Granbury from 1990 to 1995 and still lives in Hood County, is the former fire chief and emergency management coordinator for the city of Hurst. He is an assistant professor and coordinator of the fire technology program at Tarrant County College and volunteered his services to the county in the wake of the tornado.

Frye said that anyone wanting to donate food should contact the Tarrant County Area Food Bank.

“They can warehouse it for us,” he said.

The former mayor also noted that Hood County has a number of area food pantries that likely will be able to serve the needs of those forced from their homes.

People Helping People, which provides food, clothing and other items to those in need, is going to be open today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for tornado victims needing help, and also to accept donations.

Frye stated that Mission Granbury will be “the point of contact for personal items,” but added that they may run out of storage capacity.”

Thursday afternoon, the Hood County News was informed that Mission Granbury had obtained warehouse space behind Grump’s restaurant in the 3500 block of Highway 377 East. Anyone wanting to donate items for tornado victims can contact Mission Granbury at 817-579-6866.

Frye encouraged those wanting to make financial donations to Hood County’s tornado victims to send the gifts to the Red Cross Chisholm Trail Chapter, which services the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The number there is 817-335-9137.

“The money will not be wasted,” he said. “It will not be squandered. It will go to the right place.”

Habitat for Humanity volunteer Terry Templeton said that Triple Cross Cowboy Church’s Good Shepherd Fund can funnel donations to those affected by the tornado. Anyone writing a check to the church can just designate on the memo line that the money is for Habitat. Checks can be mailed to Triple Cross Cowboy Church, 3470 Lipan Highway, Granbury, 76048.

Frye said that many people have volunteered to help with clean-up at Rancho Brazos. Emergency workers and those in law enforcement have been collecting the names so that they can be contacted later, he said.

Frye stated that before any clean-up can begin, the area has to be secured to make sure it is safe. Insurance representatives will then have to be allowed in to do inspections – a process that he predicts will begin early next week.

After that, clean-up can begin.

Efforts are under way to compile a categorized list of volunteers and the skills and equipment they have to offer.

Those wishing to volunteer can contact representatives of CERT, which stands for Community Emergency Response Team. They are conducting the coordination efforts at First United Methodist Church on Loop 567. Volunteers can also call the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 817-579-0858.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 258

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