FRANKLIN, Texas — The city of Franklin says more than 60 structures were damaged and about a dozen people were injured following the EF-3 tornado that swept through the city on Saturday morning.
The city estimates 4,000 residents are currently without power in Robertson County.
A small church on the south side of Franklin was completely destroyed by Saturday's tornado.
Members of the St. Joseph Church of God in Christ surveyed the damage and count their blessings this Palm Sunday.
"When God allows you to wake up it’s a blessing," said life-long church member Anita Maxwell. "When God allows you to see another day it’s a blessing. When God gives you good health, it’s a blessing.”
Maxwell says it took years for members to save up enough money to construct the new church facilities.
“It's a very small congregation," Maxwell said. The bank at first would not give us a loan because we were so small. So what we did was save money and do a little bit of it at a time. And then we finally got enough of it done so that we could move in and it was beautiful, it was beautiful.”
Pastor John Ealoms says the foundation for the new sanctuary was poured in 2014.
He shows where a board went through the wall of the temporary sanctuary.
“That could’ve hurt,” Ealoms said. “It could’ve hit the top of my head.”
There’s no telling how long it’ll take this congregation of about a dozen members to rebuild.
“Through it all I still give God the glory, through it all,” Ealoms said. “[It’s] just a part of life. We’re going to have troubles, we’re going to have trials, but we’ve got a God that’s bigger than our troubles.”
The hands of residents and volunteers are working on Palm Sunday – not wiping away tears.
Franklin residents say this is what it means to live in small-town Texas.
“Small-town Texas is like a small-town family,” Maxwell said. “Everybody knows everybody else. And that’s what it means. We look out for one another. Everyone will be there for you, everyone will look out for you, everyone will take care of you. They consider you to be your brothers and sisters.”
“Anyone who does not have business in the affected areas should stay out,” said Billy Huggins with the Robertson County Emergency Management.
Mayor Molly Hedrick said this for those interesting in helping:
“Folks interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact the local offices of American Red Cross and Salvation Army. All current donation needs have been met. We truly appreciate all the offers of support. We encourage folks who wish to donate to reach out to the Brazos Valley Food Bank in Franklin's name.”
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