In Tornado's Wake, Carney Church Bands Together To Aid Neighbors

The Field family huddled and prayed inside the bathroom when the storm blew over Sunday. It was the only room left standing.

Thursday, May 23rd 2013, 6:49 pm

By: News On 6

The Hayes family says they had nine people inside a small storm shelter, three of whom were hanging on to the door for dear life while the storm passed over.

When they got out, they saw a missing barn and house and five cars destroyed. And that is just a small part of the 20-mile path of destruction near Carney.

In Sunday's EF3 twister in Wellston and Carney in Lincoln County, two businesses and 34 homes were destroyed, 20 homes sustained major damage and 42 homes have minor damage, the Lincoln County Office of Emergency Management said.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Coverage

"Irony is running 100 yards to a house that was destroyed, from a mobile home that survived," Billy Field said.

Field lives down the road from the storm shelter.

His home is rubble.

He said his family huddled and prayed inside the bathroom when the storm blew over Sunday evening.

"That's the only four walls that were left standing," Field said.

He, like hundreds of residents, are lucky to be alive. There were only injuries in Carney, like Field's black eye.

"One single [piece of] hail came down and busted me in the eye, so that just lets me know our God has a sense of humor," Field said.

Read more about the needs in Carney

It's that unrelenting faith that has Fields, and dozens of other Oklahomans, helping out at a church-turned-shelter.

"We turned the church into Ground Zero," Carney Assembly of God pastor Bo Gibbs said."We're trying to meet every physical and spiritual need."

Gibbs said the outpouring of support and volunteers has been overwhelming.

Now they are trying to shift their focus to specific items like toiletries, linens, undergarments, storage totes and trash bags.

"We're past the toothbrushes, we're trying to pick up and clean up," Catherine Bailey said.

Catherine Bailey is now housing the families of her brother and father-in-law. Their homes were among 34 destroyed in the EF3 tornado.

She says despite the tragedy, they are doing whatever they can to help.

"They have two pairs of clothes right now and they are out working... come home, change, eat, change clothes and go out again," Bailey said.

It's that mentality that's helping this community persevere, with the help of their family, faith and fellow Okies.

"Once the storms are over, the Lord is still there, and we know he's going to get us through this," Gibbs said.

Along with donations, the church is also organizing a community-wide clean-up effort this weekend.

Volunteers can meet at the First Assembly of God church in Carney at 7 a.m. and work until 5 p.m.


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