Harlan County volunteers help tornado victims

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

It's been more than a week now since one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. Folks from the mountains are stepping up to help those who lost everything in Alabama.

Pictures and video cannot fully express the scope of the damage. City blocks and homes across Alabama are destroyed.

Friday afternoon, those in Harlan County started packing up to donate to the cause.

"The people in Harlan County really came forward," said Dan Mosley, with The Bank of Harlan.

Trailers full of supplies and cases of water all rolled in and were ready to go to Central Alabama.

Once volunteers arrived, the unloading began.

"Sending stuff to us and all the families in need, we appreciate it so much," said Roy McNiel, of Gardendale First Baptist Church.

McNiel is from Harlan County. He's now a pastor at a church north of Birmingham.

"It's good to know that they think about us being here, and they call and want to know what they can do to help," said McNiel.

The supplies will help those who come to Crosshaven church in Hanceville. It's just down the road from Cullman, a town ravaged by a twister.

Parts of downtown Cullman lay in ruins. Homes are unrecognizable.

"Having these guys bring in diapers and stuff like that is going to allow us to operate on a long term basis rather than just after the storm," said Michael Pugh, Crosshaven Youth Pastor.

Volunteers said they are glad to help.

"It could have been us," said Danny McCreary, Pastor of Verda First Baptist Church.

Folks from Harlan said it did not take them long to get all the supplies they needed. After a few days they had hundreds of cases of water.

Seven hundred cases, to be exact, from the Cumberland Gap to the heart of Dixie.

"No matter how bad it gets, no matter how dark the clouds are, the storm always passes, and the sun will shine," said McCreary.

As the sun shines, what this group has left behind, will hopefully help others through a dark time.

Roy McNiel's church was not damaged by the tornadoes, but he was able to connect the folks from Harlan with Crosshaven church, in the area that sustained major damage.

Our series of reports from Alabama will continue Tuesday.

We'll show you how other groups are looking to make long term connections in the area to help people rebuild.

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