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Drone footage shows damages sustained at the Waterford subdivision in Ozark.
Photo courtesy Jason Preston/417 Drone Imaging
Drone footage shows damages sustained at the Waterford subdivision in Ozark.

Community steps up to aid storm victims

Posted online

A handful of local organizations are rallying to support victims after severe weather ripped through the Ozarks on Tuesday.

The U.S. National Weather Service identified 11 tornadoes that touched down in Barry, Christian, Dade, Douglas, Greene, Lawrence, McDonald, Ozark, Polk, Stone and Taney counties. The Ozarks also experienced flooding, and the NWS reports flash flooding remains a concern in the coming days.

The strongest storm of the night, an EF2 tornado spanning 10 miles, hit Ozark and Rogersville after 8 p.m. Tuesday. The NWS reported three injuries with hundreds of homes damaged and trees uprooted, and several homes destroyed.

Convoy of Hope’s U.S. Disaster Services team is responding to damage from the tornado in Ozark’s Waterford neighborhood to clean up downed trees, secure properties and distribute packing supplies.

“Our primary involvement right now is distributing totes to people so they are able to pack up some of their belongings and have a safe means of storing those items,” spokesman Jeff Nene said via email. “We are also doing tree removal and debris removal as needed.”

This is the 10th disaster Convoy of Hope has responded to so far this year, according to a news release.

“In addition to the work we are doing in Ozark, we are also working with Greene County Emergency Management to assess potential needs in the rest of the affected area,” said Stacy Lamb, Convoy’s senior director of U.S. disaster services, in the release.

Gov. Mike Parson is scheduled to visit the Waterford subdivision this afternoon to asses storm damage and meet with first responders and volunteer coordinators, according to a separate news release.

Following EF1 tornadoes in Rogersville and Willard, the Greene County Commission voted last night to declare a local state of emergency due to the severe weather, according to a release. The declaration allows action to help protect the health, safety and welfare of county residents.

The Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management also is establishing a volunteer coordination center at the Fellowship Baptist Church in Rogersville to help those affected by the storm with debris cleanup efforts.

“We are extremely grateful that we have an active community who are willing to help those affected by Tuesday’s storm,” said Larry Woods, director of OEM, in the release. “That’s why it is important to have a coordinated effort to effectively help our friends and neighbors.”

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is accepting donations to support storm victims. Among the hardest-hit communities in CFO’s service region are Ozark, Rogersville, Willard, Miller and Wheaton.

Online or mailed donations can be made to the Southern Missouri Recovery Fund. The Finley River Community Foundation, an affiliate of CFO based in Ozark, has established a specific fund for recovery needs for its community.

Also in Ozark, Finley Farms is hosting a raffle this month for a 2019 Tracker Off Road ATV donated by the Morris family of Bass Pro Shops. Tickets are available for purchase during the farmers market, held 3-7 p.m. every Thursday.

Proceeds will be used to pay for school supplies, prom dresses, emergency shelter, gas cards, furniture and household goods through Ozark Cares Network, a coalition organized by the Ozark School District and Care to Learn.

“This community comes together in times of celebration and hardship. As we establish a new venue for Ozark, we want to help everyone recover from this week’s devastating storms by bringing people together in support of one another,” said Megan Morris, one of the Finley Farms organizers, in a news release.

Several GoFundMe pages have been established to support victims of the storm. One of the largest has raised more than $30,000 as of this morning for Galin Campbell and his family, who lost their home in Rogersville due to the tornado.

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