Hundreds answer the call to help in Brookport

Hundreds answer the call to help in Brookport

BROOKPORT, IL (KFVS) - It's been three days since the deadly tornado ripped through Brookport destroying homes and leaving many struggling to recover.

But on Wednesday, volunteers were lined up ready to help wherever they could.

"This is where my hearts at and it's the least I could do," said volunteer and Brookport resident Tammy Guess.

Volunteers numbering in the hundreds armed with rakes, shovels, and chainsaws came to the aid of a community suffering from loss and shock.

"You know that first 24 hours I think all of us were in shock," said Guess. "It just wasn't processing."

Tammy was one of the few spared in Sunday's deadly tornado. Now she's one of nearly 400 volunteers working to clean up the rubble. And even though her home still stands, she said the amount of people willing to help is overwhelming.

"Oh there's no words to describe it," she said. "It just completely touches my heart. It's just amazing to me how everybody has come together from all over to help and people bringing food constantly. Everybody helping. It's amazing. Very, very touching."

It was an optimistic, early morning start for volunteers coming from neighboring cities to neighboring states. Some traveled several hours to lend a helping hand. But organizers said it's not really a situation you can simply walk away from.

"It is stressful if you've never been in a disaster area like this," said VOAD Region 11 Director Ed Hoke. "To see the destruction, to see the devastation. It is stressful and i encourage the volunteers to that when they go home to talk about what they saw today. Not just keep it inside. It's traumatic if you've never seen it before."

And that's exactly how Tammy described the scene.

"There's no words to describe the effect it has on you emotionally. I can't even describe it. I guess traumatizing. So me feeling this way and I still have my home to go to, I can't imagine how these people feel that have lost everything."

Despite the traumatic experience, the first day of volunteer work has visibly lifted a downtrodden spirit in this community. The death and destruction still weighing heavily on their hearts and minds is somewhat comforted by this amazing show of support.

Organizers say they literally had to turn people away.

If you want to volunteer, you can apply Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Old Veech's gas station starting at 8:30.

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