Mena family celebrates Easter after surviving tornado

Mena family celebrates Easter after surviving tornado

Tornado damage at Mena's First Baptist Church is an estimated $1 million dollars. But the damage wasn't strong enough to stop the celebration of Easter Sunday.
Right now, tornado damage at Mena's First Baptist Church is an estimated $1 million dollars. Several church members' homes also took direct hits in Thursday night's tornado, including the Sherrer family's.

Sunday morning, FOX16 caught up with the Sherrers before Easter service and toured the damaged church.

"This building here had major damage on it.  As far as wind damage, some of our windows you can see the spots that are blacked that are boxed in now, were blown out," says Wayne McDaniel with First Baptist.

The damage forced Easter service out of the sanctuary for the first time.  "We had lots of glass upstairs and downstairs in classrooms, and everything's been cleaned up," McDaniel added.

But the tornado wasn't strong enough to stop the celebration, especially for the Sherrers.  The family of five survived the tornado Thursday night.  "It was the day before prom, so my oldest daughter and I were practicing hair and makeup.  We had no TV, radio on.  My husband was on the computer in the office," says Paulette Sherrer.

The family was about to watch something they had just DVRd, and that's when they saw the tornado warning and ran to the closet.  "The sirens went off, so we all got back out of the closet, and my daughter went to turn the TV on again, and now it was scrolling Polk and Scott County take immediate cover," explained Sherrer.

So, they ran back into the closet.  "By the time I got in and down, insulation was swinging everywhere, and it was just unbelievably, you know, and I would say maybe a minute, maybe two minutes and then it was perfectly calm," says father Clifton Sherrer.

"As soon as the wind died down, I started singing My Jesus, I love thee, and my husband screams 'Where's Maddie' because he could touch my son, he could touch me. He knew Hillary was touching me, and she had climbed under the clothes and was clinging onto Hillary's leg.  I knew that God wasn't done with us yet and that we had a testimony, and that by our faith and our spirit, others could see that without a God, I don't know how people make it," says Paulette.

Hillary is still looking forward to her junior prom.  She still has her dress and the school is supposed to reschedule it this week.

The Sherrers have insurance and already found a place to stay.
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