Lowndes co. recovery group repairs 85 homes damaged in 2019 tornado

Families were left with little or nothing and those memories seemed to fade away.

COLUMBUS, Miss.(WCBI)- When a deadly EF-3 tornado touched down in Columbus three years ago, it left a trail of destruction.

It also left several families without a place to call home.

Out of that rubble rose a group dedicated to helping neighbors.

Community Recovery of Lowndes County has been working tirelessly to restore impacted homes, businesses, and properties.

” You’re looking at your home being destroyed,” said Dr. Stan McCrary.

Destruction and debris lined the streets of Columbus after the storm hit in 2019.

Families were left with little or nothing—and those memories seemed to fade away.

But, it isn’t where the story ends.

” Our job, our goal, our focus at that time was to get families back up and running,” said Nicole Clinkscales.

Clinkscales is the Board President of Community Recovery of Lowndes County. She says the CRLC was formed just days after the storm.

Their mission — restore the community for the greater good.

” We did everything from repairing roofs to extracting mold out of homes, to rebuilding them. We replaced windows and paint jobs, sheetrock and ceilings,” said Clinkscales.

The CRLC partnered with the Mennonites Disaster Service, United Way, First United Methodist Church, and the  , just to name a few.

But this was no short-term project.

Dozens of homeowners were displaced and waiting for assistance.

The CRLC met with clients to determine their needs.

” Part of one of our subcommittees that would go out and do an assessment. And then from there how much it was going to take in terms of manpower, materials, money, time. All of that went into building that case,” said Clinkscales.

Four homes on the docket were declared a total loss.

” We were at the demolition of a home of a gentleman that was completely demolished, we were there with him as the bulldozers were pushing it down,” said Clinkscales.

Dr. Stan McCrary is the Chairman of Emotional and Spiritual Care.

” We let the affected persons know we are here for you from the first to the last and all points in between,” said McCrary.

Up to 85 people received assistance since 2019, whether it was a repair to their home or their foundation rebuilt.

“The assessment initially said $55,000 to demolish and rebuild this home, but that was pre-COVID. With material prices going up and labor prices being more expensive now, we’re three years moved from the time this assessment was done. That cost us probably double now,” said Clinkscales.

The city of Columbus will partner with the CRLC to complete inspection and demolition.

No completion date has been set.

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