Eldon storeowner puts community first in tornado repairs

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ELDON - Jason Bishop is doing his part to provide and assist members of the Eldon community. 

It's been a little over three weeks since the tornado hit Eldon. 

Many customers are continuing to call Bishop's Auto Glass shop for vehicle and home glass repairs, and Bishop is doing what he can to help them first.

"They not only have one piece of glass broken, it's several," Bishop said. "I haven't even replaced my window, and it will probably still be like that until we can get caught up on all the other customer's work."

Bishop said they've received more than 100 calls over the normal number of calls in the few weeks following the tornado.  

He said his business is facing a harsh financial reality as he continues to receive large bills, but believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  

"Damage in the town is going to boost the businesses in the end," Bishop said. "Last thing you want is a storm to come through, but it is boosting economy a little bit here," he said. 

Although Bishop said his business can handle the financial burdens, he said it's the emotional stress that's the hardest.

Bishop said he's seen many churches, businesses, and other organizations come to the shop and offer to pay the customer's bills for repairs. 

Ninth Street Christian Church in Eldon has continued to offer both hands-on and financial help to those in need. 

Senior Minister Chris Reynolds said it's been a blessing to watch the community come together for the long process ahead. 

The Ninth Street Christian Church along with other churches in the Eldon area have started a fund to help individuals families or people who have suffered from the tornado. 

He said those who wish to donate can do so through their fund on behalf of the Eldon Ministerial Alliance through its facebook page. 

He said all of the funds will be used to help families who suffered tornado damage and assist in finding new housing, or home/ vehicle repairs.

"This community has pulled together and there's been a lot of entities that is taking care of a lot of people that don't have the money to do that," Bishop said.

Bishop mentioned Ninth Street Christian Church as one of the many generous groups reaching out to the community. 

But that doesn't take away the harsh reality that's at his front door. When asked what the repairs looked like the first week after the tornado, Bishop said it was a nightmare.

"It looked like a war zone," he said. "We just had to start dragging stuff and pushing stuff out of the way so at least the street could be clear."

Bishop's Auto Glass shop suffered major damage - the roof was torn completely off, debris punctured the front siding, and the main signs blew away.

In total, he said the business suffered from nearly $32,000 dollars worth of damage. But Bishop said being without power was the worst loss for them following the tornado. 

"You don't have phone lines, you don't have access to your computers, and unfortunately, I hate technology but you have to have the technology to do it," he said.

Bishop thanked Ameren Electric Company for repairing the electrical poles throughout the city a couple days following the tornado.  

He said everyone in the community stepped up to ask other community members and businesses if they needed help picking up debris and repairing their areas. 

"We might be competitors but we still watch out for one another," Bishop said.

He added he couldn't have started the cleaning progress without his staff.

"I've got to give my guys props. I mean 100%, they have stepped up and I have a good group of employees, I really do," Bishop said. 

Bishop said he's going to continue helping community members with their glass needs before he begins to manage his own.