Knoxville church group helps Oklahoma tornado victims

6:44 PM, Jun 27, 2013   |    comments
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It's the final day for an East Tennessee group to help heal the hurting in Moore, Oklahoma.  The Knoxville church group has been helping people pick up the pieces following last month's tornado.

10News reporter Evan Johnson is part of that church group, and is helping out with their relief efforts.

"It's another work day here in Moore, Oklahoma for the East Tennessee group and we're in a neighborhood right now. And I want to point this out.  This home right here, 129 SW Bee Street, and it looks perfectly fine as if nothing happened to it. But if we step over, this house-128 is a complete disaster and this is the home the Knoxville group is helping out with today," said Johnson.

Piles of debris form in the front yard of this Moore, Oklahoma home, as volunteers from Knoxville's Overcoming Believers Church help the homeowner remove everything from inside.

"We were moving debris and moving furniture out of homes that had been rained inside of because the roofing had caved in," said Stan Carter.

"Even after all of this destruction, after all of their loss, they're still standing. They're spirits are high," said Kim Watkins. 

The homeowner, Robert Bishop, says he was tempted to stay in his home during May's E-F5 tornado, but decided to go to his fiancee's home instead.  He returned to find his home still standing, but severely damaged.
1:04 - 1:19 (SOT: ROSA LEE & ROBERT BISHOP / Moore, Oklahoma)
"It tore the roof up, caused water damage, ruined the office in there, caused black mold in the office. I don't know what that is in the bedrooms. And it threw glass all over the beds and stuff," said Bishop.
 
Bishop's neighbor, Bill Garretson says he saw the tornado just before it hit the neighborhood.

"I heard it had hit the Warren Theatre. I got in my hallway closet. It didn't last 30 - 45 seconds and then it was gone," said Garretson.

The impact of the tornado is still being felt more than a month later. 

"To see someone who has gone through a traumatic experience and to be able to help them and see that they still had joy was very encouraging," said Carter. 

"They left with a clean house. We left with joy," said Watkins.

It took the Overcoming Believers Church group about an hour to get everything out of that home. Although their time spent here in Moore, Oklahoma is short, they hope their impact sticks around for quite some time.

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