Community-based recovery group uses disaster experience to help others

WINSTON COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – The Winston County community is looking to help its neighbors in need.

Winston Strong is a community-based recovery group that was created in 2014 after a Tornado swept through the area.

This group was able to establish and provide guidance with the usage of funds.

Now, they are taking what they learned during recovery efforts and assisting neighboring counties.

It’s been nearly nine years since an EF-4 tornado swept through Winston County.

During their time of devastation, members of the community came together to form Winston Strong and assist those who needed it the most.

Now, those members are looking to aid other areas to provide long-term recovery support.

Steve Jones remembers the tornado that ripped through Winston County like it was yesterday.

Almost a decade later, the Winston Strong Committee has learned quite a few things during storm recovery and they are looking to offer a helping hand.

“We are just all about paying it forward. As the old saying goes we want to help but not hinder. The organization allowed us to be in control with our neighbors and friends because we knew the same thing we don’t want to tell them what to do but to show them this is what we did and did it work or not because every disaster is different,” said Jones.

While some received sources from FEMA and MEMA, Jones and his team focused on those who were under or not insured. Many things were learned through trial and error, but Jones says there is one thing you should always hold on to.

“Anything that you used for storm cleanup. Storm recovery. Fuel for your chainsaw, if you break a chain. Even, your mileage. I mean write it down because you may forget what you did and they may tell you now but anything that pertains to cleaning up right it down,” said Jones.

Through the recovery process, Winston Strong realized the community lacked a few things.

Jones says in 2014 when the tornadoes hit Lousiville nobody in his neighborhood even had a storm shelter. That has since changed and the city of Louisville has a community-wide safe room for people to come during severe weather.

And if your community has been affected by the storms Jones says to remember the three P’s: Prayer, patience, and persistence.

“This is not a sprint this is a marathon. Like I said earlier we just closed on our last case from working since 2014. so yeah it’s a long haul. I mean patience, patience, patience,” said Jones.

If you would like to help Winston Strong’s efforts they are accepting donations for the long-term recovery of those recently devastated by tornadoes.

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