Good Samaritans work to clean up community after possible tornado in Deridder

Updated: May. 19, 2019 at 4:42 PM CDT
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DeRidder, La. (KPLC) - In DeRidder, a possible tornado touched down along Jim West Road at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm stripped trees, ripped off roofs, flattened barns, and much more.

Dorine Bearden and her husband live along Jim West Road.

“We woke up to the sound of glass breaking, and went in and saw the window in the kitchen was broken," Bearden said.

She said they slept through the worst of it, but when she went outside in the morning, their property was destroyed.

“Before, I had always told my husband, it looked like we lived in a park," Bearden said. "And when I looked out there, that park was gone. It was heartbreaking.”

While they lost much of their property, thankfully, no one was injured.

Bearden said another blessing is that when they started to clean up, they weren’t alone.

“There were people that we didn’t know, they got the roads cleared, and the Mennonite community came in," Bearden said. "They brought us breakfast, they brought chainsaws, tractors, workers, and they haven’t slowed down.”

The Mennonite group was Christian Disaster Relief Inc., or CDR.

They canceled their church services Sunday morning and headed out into the community to help those effected by the storm.

“I just made a couple phone calls, got them in gear, and this is what showed up," Harley Giesbrecht, a member of the CDR, said.

He said this was personal to him.

He lives just up the street from some of the hardest hit homes.

While his family was fortunate and didn’t have any severe damage to their property, Giesbrecht said he knew he had to get out and help his neighbors who did.

“I do know some of them, I don’t know all of them," Giesbrecht said. "But, it’s what we’re here for, we’re not in it for ourselves, we’re in it for each other.”

While Bearden can’t personally thank each and every person who worked on her home, she did have a message for them.

“We just want to say thank you, we really appreciate it, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you," Bearden said.

The National Weather Service did send a team to the Beauregard Parish area on Sunday to determine if there was a confirmed tornado.

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