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After the storms, Texans help Texans

Tornado. © mdesigner125
Freda Ross

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(Texas News Service) Residents of north Texas continue to clean up after the latest in a string of deadly tornadoes.

According to the National Weather Service, an EF-2 tornado with wind speeds of 135 miles per hour killed seven people and injured more than 100 others in Cooke County. It was just one of a series of dangerous weather events across the state in the last several weeks.

PROMO 64J1 Map - States Texas - iStock - klenger

© iStock - klenger

The group Texans on Mission, a faith-based nonprofit formerly known as Texas Baptist Men, assists victims worldwide after a disaster.

John Hall, chief mission officer and director of communications for the group, said crews are spread out across the Lone Star State.

"Right now, we are serving in multiple locations in Houston after the high windstorms down there," Hall pointed out. "We're serving in two locations in San Marcos, after tornadoes down there. We're serving after the flooding in southeast Texas; we're serving here after the tornado up in far north Texas."

Hall noted because of the number of recent severe weather events in Texas, they are short on volunteers. The organization is now receiving assistance from partner groups in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and North Carolina.

At least 200 homes and businesses in north Texas were destroyed by the tornadoes. Governor Greg Abbott has extended an existing disaster declaration to include Denton, Montague, Cooke and Collin counties. The declaration makes the regions eligible for additional funding under FEMA's public assistance program.

Hall explained when volunteers arrive at a disaster scene, residents need basic necessities.

"We'll bring in mobile shower-laundry teams to give people access to shower and laundry services," Hall outlined. "We'll bring in mass feeding teams and then often, we bring in chain saw teams that will take out the large trees that have fallen on people's cars and their houses."

He added the volunteers remain in the affected areas for several weeks after a catastrophic event. Hall said over the past year, they have responded to disasters on six different continents.