St. Louis Town Banding Together After Tornado Destruction

9 years 3 months 1 week ago Sunday, April 24 2011 Apr 24, 2011 Sunday, April 24, 2011 10:53:00 PM CDT April 24, 2011 in News
By: Tara Grimes
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BERKELEY - It only took three minutes for Friday night's tornado to destroy Berkeley resident Andre Brown's home, but Brown said it was the scariest three minutes of his life. He said it's a miracle he and his six other family members that were in the house at the time are still alive.

"It's hard to believe we were in there and nobody got hurt," Brown said. "We were just at the bottom of the steps when we looked up and that's when the roof came off. Then it got quiet for a second because we were in the middle of the funnel, and it was peaceful. Then I guess it hit the house again and that's when everything, the walls went with it."

Like many towns in St. Louis devastated by the tornado, residents in Berkeley are banding together to cleanup the wreck it left behind. On Sunday, members of Shalom Church delivered snacks to families who haven't left their homes.

"We're doing water, we've made sandwiches," Shalom Church Pastor Freddy Clark said. "We'll complete this task and then reassess what needs to happen, and make plans to be here for the long term. It really feels good being able to help people. I think our community is stronger when people start to help people."

A few towns away, the Red Cross has set up shelter in the Maryland Heights Community Center. Red Cross shelter manager Lois Flippen said about 35 people spent Saturday night at the shelter. Others have come during the day for food.

"The victims of the storm that have come in here are so traumatized," Flippen said. "Some of them can't talk at all and all they want is to be left alone. Others they need to cry on your shoulder and I've got nice wide shoulders. So I encourage them to cry if they need to cry."

Even through all the pain, Flippen said the outpouring of support has been amazing.

"Everybody is so cooperative and trying to be helpful and loving," Flippen said. "You don't hear all this horrible stuff that's going on around you, you just know that there's somebody there that cares."

Melik Beal, Brown's son, said he sees it too.

"Usually you don't see as many people as you did yesterday," Beal said. "I'm glad to see the community coming together like it is."

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