JACKSBORO (KFDX/KJTL) — The community of Jacksboro is cleaning up after that tornado Monday afternoon left behind countless damage to schools, cars and homes.
Residents say they’ve felt just about every emotion, but now their focus is on working together to ensure Jacksboro makes a strong comeback.
“I’ve never seen a tornado, I’ve never been in a tornado and I’m 90-years-old,” Mrs. Frances said.
That’s what 30 year resident of Jacksboro Ms. Frances shared after living through the severe tornado that struck Jacksboro leaving the community to pick up the pieces.
Residents say it all started with loud sounds of thunder that they thought would pass by, but tornado sirens made them realize this was serious.
“I immediately ran inside and told all the boys to get under the stairway, I went upstairs to my son’s brother’s room, got him, he was trying to get his bird, I helped him get his bird, and all of us huddled up under the stairway,” Joseph Cortez said.
Cortez says he’s visiting Jacksboro from Florida and this was his first tornado too, and at the time, he just hoped his neighbors were bracing for cover as well.
“I [ran] to the back bedroom and got the dog and we got in that bathroom in there and just as I got in and got the door shut it hit, and I ran to get in the shower and I mean it hit it was terrible,” Frances said.
Frances says she heard her home being completely ripped apart. The entire rear side was torn off, and she became trapped under the rubble, but little did she know Cortez, her neighbor from across the street, was coming to her rescue.
“Soon as I realized everyone was safe, I immediately ran outside to see if there was any elderly that needed help, and my neighbor was outside. I pounded on their door asking if they needed help and they said they were okay but there was an elderly woman next door with her house destroyed,” Cortez said.
“I heard somebody holler, ‘is there anybody here’ and there was a guy across the street I didn’t know who he was he was just visiting. He came and got us out so I couldn’t have gotten out. All the ceiling had fallen in and everything,” Frances said.
That sense of being a good neighbor is what they both say keeps Jacksboro going at a time like this.
With volunteers like Timothy Johnson coming from near and far to help.
“I live in Fort Worth now but my good friend Jerry lives right here and I’m here helping him and it just overflows. You see so much devastation and you say how can I help these people or how can I help those people?” Johnson said.
“I’m from Florida and I always say that Florida people are very friendly but now I can say that Texas people are very friendly. They’re helping out without even asking. They’ve already cleared this whole street off,” Cortez said.
“Everybody’s here. There’s a guy here from Dallas that’s worked hard as he could all morning and I didn’t even know who he was,” Frances said.
A community helping each other in one of the toughest times of all.
A 10 p.m. curfew is still in place countywide.
Jack County Treasurer Brad Camsey says the county has set up its own disaster relief fund.
It’s established at Jacksboro National Bank. The mailing address is P.O. Box A in Jacksboro, zip code 76458.
You can make the payment out to the Jack County Disaster Relief Fund.
An electronic or online option is not available at this time but for more information on the fund call 940-249-5290.