Special Report: Botkinburg Three Months After The Storm

Special Report: Botkinburg Three Months After The Storm

County is rebuiliding and recovering after a strong spring tornado.
BOTKINBURG, AR-- Three months after an EF-2 tornado hit Van Buren County, the heartbreak still exists. But there are signs of progress as those in Botkinburg refuse to give up hope.

A story of survival....

Troy Sisco lost his home in the April 10 Botkinburg tornado.

"Me and my girlfriend were in the storm cellar," said Sisco.

Sisco  found safety from the storm inside the shelter.

"Within 10 feet of our cellar door, it twisted off 8-10 inches of hickory trees," said Sisco. 

After the storm, they came out meeting devastation face to face.

"The first thing that went through my mind was thank God that I was alive and safe and hope everyone else was," said Sisco's girlfrienf Miriam Meredith.

Sisco and Meredith now live together since her home wasn't damaged.

This story of survival and recovery like so many here.

County's response...

Judge Roger Hooper says the county's long term recovery committee is helping 27 families.

"The committee is made up of 5 ministers and justices of the peace and they have worked to help those underinsured or uninsured," said Hooper.

David Cook is the committee's chairman.

"It has been very difficult. It's like trying to eat an elephant one bite at a time. We work with each family case by case and we just take it one day at a time," said Cook.

County leaders say they have a come a long way in the recovery process, but there is still a lot of work to get done. 

A church destroyed...
Help is steadily flowing to the Botkinburg Foursquare Church.

Pastor Ester Bass says what happened back in April is a day he will never forget. But now Bass seems optimistic.

His church is now having services at Dennard Community Church, while Bass' sanctuary is being rebuilt. They hope to have it completed by January 2014.

"Its kinda like a man without a country when you got a pastor without a church," said Bass.

Moving forward....

Leaders say they are also focusing on reparing roads. 

The federal government did not declare the area a disaster site, so the county does not qualify for any federal aid.

The state is paying for 35-percent of the damage and the county will absorb the remaining costs.

Leaders say the damage is around $300,000.
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