BOWIE (KFDX/KJTL) — Bowie residents are on day five of clean up after a tornado ripped through parts of the city Friday night.
This happened during the pandemic, but residents and officials said COVID-19 hasn’t affected their efforts.
Montague County has only seen nine positive COVID-19 cases.
Their focus is now on a different disaster that has had a much larger impact.
“The emotions change every day, you don’t know where to start but you just roll your sleeves up and start doing something and it’ll lead to something else,” Bowie resident Brad Sherman, who had properties damaged, said.
Brad Sherman said he gets just three hours of sleep a night after sifting through the rubble at his downtown Bowie properties, but he’s not alone.
The rubble reached high heights as insulation sits on the limbs of trees and the tornado left a path of destruction.
“I drive from here, home and back, and all I see is armies of people out cutting trees, picking trash up, that’s a blessing,” Sherman said.
“At last count, we had about 422 damaged properties, this morning I received notice that we have 34 homes that are not liveable,” Bowie Mayor Gaylynn Burris said.
As friends, families and strangers put everything else down to pick up what’s left of buildings, another group serves in a different capacity.
“We have had people from Wichita Falls, Dallas, Decatur, everywhere bringing in all kinds of donations and our local people have brought in a lot of things,” Bonnie Kinder, who is leading donation efforts in the aftermath, said. “I can’t tell you how many families we’ve had come in and pick stuff up.”
From toiletries and non-perishable food to diapers and trash bags, the Bowie Community Center has become a place of refuge.
“All the needs that you don’t realize you need until they’re all not there,” Burris said.
Burris said the aftermath of the EF1 tornado is still taking its toll on the residents, but the pandemic has had no effect on their clean-up efforts.
“It went by the wayside when people decided they needed to get out and work for one another and help their neighbor, that was the last thing on their mind,” Burris said.
Those heading the donation area say they could really use things like shovels, rakes, work gloves and brooms.
Monetary donations are also greatly appreciated and needed.
Click here for more details on how to contribute.