Storm Assist Donates $2000 To Mississippi Tornado Victims
Two days before Christmas 2015, while many American were beginning preparations for their holiday meals or finishing up last minute shopping, the residents of Holly Springs, Miss. were experiencing what could only be described as “hell on earth.”
Just a few short miles from the Tennessee state line, Holly Springs, a community of 8,000 people, was struck by an EF-4 tornado — one of over a dozen across the southern part of the United States on December 23, 2016.
At times, the tornado was well over a half-mile wide, and, unfortunately, killed nine people during its path. Destroying numerous homes and buildings and flipping vehicles along its path, Memphis CBS affiliate WREG claimed that Holly Springs looked “nothing short of a war zone.”
The tornado, which displayed violent motion at many points throughout its exceptionally long 75-mile path length, was documented by several storm chasers. Among those chasers was Lynda Whitfield of nearby Corinth, Miss., who relays her story of the thrill of the chase, the agony of witnessing the devastation, and the satisfaction of representing the storm chasing community by delivering a $2000 donation from Storm Assist — the non-profit organization founded and run by all-volunteer storm chasers looking to give back to victims of severe weather.
“On December 23, 2016, like many other chasers, my chase partner and I were out in anticipation of tornadoes that day,” Whitfield said. “We positioned ourselves north of Holly Springs on Highway 72 and waited. We watched the tornadoes develop around Clarksdale and begin moving north. We intercepted the one that impacted Holly Springs, Ashland and northern Tippah county as it crossed 72 just west of Walnut.
“A friend from the Red Cross toured me around the damage path shortly after the storm. The Highway 4 and Highway 7 areas were just ravaged. Many people in this rural area live in mobile homes, very old frame houses, and some brick homes. We saw many places that showed twisted frames of what used to be mobile homes, foundations with partial walls standing, or nothing at all.
“Hugh Hollowell, Coordinator of Emergency Management for Marshall County, was happy to accept the Storm
Assist gift cards and advised that he had already contacted two churches in the area who were working with the victims both in the county and in the city. He told me of one lady who had lost everything and was living with other family members for now. He said she told him there were 13 people living in the house, and everything she had [after the tornado] would fit into a plastic tube. The gift cards donated will help. They still have distribution centers open to get clothing and household items that were donated, but having some money is much appreciated.”
Storm Assist received a thank you from a local resident shortly after the donation was made.
Hello, I am writing this on behalf of [NAME REDACTED] who fell victim to the tornado in Holly Springs, [NAME REDACTED] was in the house when it hit all around him. There was damage to his property but HE is Blessed To Be ALIVE. [NAME REDACTED] has not worked since August or so, due to declining health and Recently, he had to be hospitalized for 3 weeks, partly due, we believe, to all the trauma and stress he experienced. The Marshal County Recovery program helped us request FEMA assistance today and they also (Ms Brackin Dawson) helped us receive a monetary gift card from you guys through Big Star Carlisle Grocery Store in Holly Springs, MS. What a Blessing! Willie lost close to $500.00 worth or foodsin his freezer and refrigerator, so this is a blessing! Thank you so much for what you did and continuously do for disaster victims. We are very appreciative. God Bless You!
Storm Assist, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, was founded and is operated by storm chasers who volunteer their time to give back to communities ravaged by the very severe weather they seek. To date, the organization has raised well over $50,000 for storm relief, and 100 percent of proceeds go directly to victims of severe weather. To learn more about Storm Assist, please visit http://www.stormassist.org.