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Neighbors helping neighbors: Hundreds volunteer after Tennessee storms

Just moments after storms struck, neighbors in Clarksville, Tennessee were looking out for each other.
Neighbors helping neighbors: Hundreds volunteer after Tennessee storms
Posted at 8:09 PM, Dec 11, 2023

Hundreds of volunteers helped search through rubble and debris days after Saturday's deadly tornado in Montgomery County.

An EF3 tornado damaged multiple homes in the West Creek Farms neighborhood in Clarksville, Tennessee, killing three people, including a 10-year-old boy, on Henry Place Boulevard. Some homes were deemed a total loss.

Fort Campbell soldier Gage Collins and his roommates, who also serve in the military, were displaced after a tornado ripped through their neighborhood. They were getting ready to move into their new home. 

"The whole thing was super fast. No rain, no anything. It was crazy. I've never seen anything like it," Collins said.

After the tornado, they quickly sprang into action, checking on neighbors to make sure they were okay.

"We were pulling kids out. It was crazy to see everyone come together like that," Collins said. "We were lifting whole walls, like load-bearing walls, off of people and then just pulling them out, taking care of them."

Equipped with first-aid training, they were able to help neighbors until paramedics arrived.

"This whole block lit up with people with first-aid bags, medical kits over there, just providing as much first aid as we could," Collins said.

SEE MORE: Cleanup underway after tornadoes kill at least 6 in Tennessee

The Clarksville Police Department identified the three victims killed as 59-year-old Donna Allen of Florida, 34-year-old Stephen Kwaah Hayes of Clarksville, and 10-year-old Arlan Coty of Clarksville. A GoFundMe account has been set up for Arlan's family who also lost their entire home.

Volunteers from all over helped clear debris and gather personal items from homes that were destroyed.

Jarae Meriwether, who serves as a student pastor at LifePoint Church in Clarksville, and his team have been on the ground helping along with other churches and organizations. 

"You're probably asking the question like, 'Hey, where's God in a situation like this?' God is us. He's in us and we're showing up to serve you and to be there for you," Pastor Meriwether said. "So in a way, we're not saying that we're gods, but we are saying that, 'Hey, this is a way that God is looking at you and smiling at you' and saying, 'Hey, we got people here for you. So you're not in this alone.'"

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