HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Progress may seem slow, but the Pine Belt continues with a steady cleanup and recovery following the tornado that tore through this area more than two weeks ago.
"It truly reminded me of Katrina," said volunteer Robby Goff from Moss Point. "I made the trip up here to help out after seeing all the destruction on WLOX News."
Goff joined a group of like-minded volunteers on Alcorn Ave. in Hattiesburg on Wednesday morning. That's where they cut limbs and hauled storm debris to the street.
Devastated neighborhoods are busy cleaning up and taking stock. The streets are filled with utility crews, insurance adjusters, and FEMA representatives.
Countless faith based ministries can be seen delivering goods or dispatching volunteers throughout the Pine Belt. Essie Ellis counts herself among the blessed. She says the tornado was "two minutes of terror."
The elderly woman was home on Claiborne Ave., just north of William Carey, when the twister touched down.
"It shattered those windows, and the debris was blowing throughout the house," Ellis recalled, shaking her head in disbelief at the recent memory. "I've noticed things getting a little better already."
Ellis has lived in the same house since 1979.
"We had plenty of trees down in Katrina," Ellis said. "But, it wasn't as bad as this."
Just then, volunteers pulled up from Mercy Chefs. That's a group which has been cooking and providing meals for area storm victims.
"Let me give you a hug," said one after handing Miss Essie a boxed lunch.
"It is so good to see you," Ellis replied.