MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Over the last few days, hundreds have converged on Covington to help clean up the mess left behind by a tornado and care for the victims.
We now know that two tornadoes touched down in Tipton County Friday night. Tuesday, Tipton County EMA director Tommy Dunavant said the first tornado caused damage to islands in the Mississippi River, but the second tornado, an EF-3, was more than 3.5 miles wide.
In one video captured by a man outside the Walmart in Covington, you can see how wide and powerful that tornado was when it ripped through the area.
Dunavant said it followed about a 20-mile path and damaged 540 structures.
The tornado did not damage the Walmart. One man was killed, and dozens were injured in Tipton County.
One Memphis man returned to his hometown last weekend to lend a hand and was asked to be the director of volunteers.
Ben Dickey said Sunday, nearly 700 volunteers showed up. He said 545 cleaned up debris in 13 areas, and 150 stayed at the distribution site at Cobb Parr Park.
Dickey said on Monday, 300 returned to the area for debris cleanup and to help tornado victims get back on their feet. About 50 volunteers were from the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Covington.
“I’ve learned a tremendous amount about disaster relief in a couple of days. It was beautiful,” Dickey said in a Facebook video.” “In all of the destruction, God shows up in the form of people. It was pretty awe-inspiring.”
Dickey said unfortunately, he had to return to his job but was grateful the City of Covington had faith in him to organize the volunteers.
He said Good Samartitan’s Purse, now set up at First Baptist Church Covington, and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief at Liberty Baptist Church are looking for more volunteers.
“With the Samartitan’s Purse folks, if you want to volunteer, you have to do an intake at 7:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.,” said Dickey. “Those are the only two times you can sign up to volunteer.”
If you would like Volunteer with Good Samaritan’s Purse, call (901)422-3838, You can also contact Southern Baptist Disaster Relief at (901)-489-2937.