Cities, groups to adopt city ravaged by tornado

Cities, groups to adopt city ravaged by tornado

FRUITVALE, Texas -- Whoever said strength came in numbers likely never lived in a small town; certainly not a town as small as Fruitvale with 400 residents.

Susan Murre has been in the city for 12 years and is still considered new to town. In her acting role as the city secretary she has been instrumental in getting help for residents displaced by the tornado.

"Seven [homes] that have complete total loss," said Murre.

When something hits in a town as small as this, it hits everyone. Damon and Melonie Williams lost their home two weeks ago. Their family also lost three other homes on that same property.

The Williams are both deputies with Van Zandt County Sheriff's. The night of the the tornado they got the call to leave for Canton where the tornado also struck.

"We had just left 20 minutes before the tornado hit here," Damon said.

Back at home Lesa and the remaining family huddled in a room.

"We just started praying...we knew the house was coming apart," Lesa said.

The tornado bent the beams and tore off the roof but their doors held.

"I have not heard ofFruitvale," said Fire Chief Eric Greaser of Flower Mound.

The Fire Chief of Flower Mound had gotten word about the plight of Fruitvale after talking with the emergency manager who was dispatched to the area. Greaser first came to Fruitvale with gift cards worth thousands of dollars. He told his mayor, Tom Hayden that it simply wasn't enough.

"The whole question is what if: What if we can go out there a make a difference?" the fire chief said.

He wants to help bring back a town known for its sweet potatoes and not for burn pits, destruction, and smoke.
"It overwhelms me...it just restores your faith in people," said Murre.

It was a bold idea for four mayors of four cities in North Texas to help out one town by essentially adopting it. Help like that could go a long way for a town where many are either uninsured or under-insured and live below the poverty line.

"In this line of business you lose your faith in humanity. Then to see the best of people flooding your doorstep is amazing," said Melonie Williams.

"Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village, and Argyle actually collaborating...that's a wonderful thing in itself," said Mayor Tom Hayden of Flower Mound.

Hayden says the cities and its departments will be working with Denton County Habitat for Humanity and a developer with Centurion American to build this town back one home at a time.

"It just blows you away that they care about this little spot that I call town...that I call home," said Murre.

The cities are hoping to raise enough money to build 7 homes. The goal is to raise $500,000 to help rebuild Fruitvale.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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