Leakesville residents still recovering from tornado

LEAKESVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The residents of Leakesville can certainly empathize with the tornado victims in north Mississippi and Alabama.

It was two weeks ago when a twister ripped through that small town in Greene County, killing one person and destroying or damaging dozens of homes.

Leakesville is not only working on its own recovery, but residents are also reaching out to Alabama. The shock has worn off, but the devastation in the area remains.

"When a small community like this is hit, it makes a difference. Probably close to a third of our town has been damaged," said Ron Mason, who's the market manager at the Piggly Wiggly.

As he works the meat counter, workers repair the outside wall that was demolished by flying debris.

"A lot of debris from that building came into our building, and it tore that whole side and our frozen food out," he explained.

Despite the destruction in this town, Alabama shows it could have been much worse.

"Oh, it's heart breaking. The magnitude of that compared to this, I just can't imagine what they're going through," said Mason.

"We could hear the debris coming across and hitting the house," said Tomeka Brown.

The tornado not only heavily damaged Brown's home, it also destroyed the nearby homes of her mother, grandmother, cousin and uncle.

"We need FEMA, MEMA, whoever else can come together. We definitely need it. Because we still have families that don't have any homes," she pleaded.

Despite devastation all around it, Bill Burley's home was spared. He, too, saw the dramatic video from Alabama.

"It was bad. I was watching the TV this morning and I had to get up and walk away from it because I couldn't hardly stand too much of that," said Burley.

Even as people here in Leakesville continue to recover from their own natural disaster, they're also making plans to pay it forward, reaching out to the tornado victims in Alabama.

First Baptist Church has a room filled with clothing and donated relief supplies. The church will take these donations to Tuscaloosa.

"They have so much need right now in the Tuscaloosa area, that as people have helped us from all over the place, we want to be able to do the same," said pastor Billy Dowdy.

As they extend help to others, they're also confident of Leakesville's recovery.

"I believe through the grace of God, we'll be able to overcome it," said Bill Burley.

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