Marmaduke Cleanup Kicks into High Gear

May 12, 2006--Posted at 4:00 p.m. CDT

MARMADUKE, AR-- April 2nd changed the lives of many residents in Marmaduke as some lost everything.  Soon, residents could be ready to rebuild where their old houses once stood. It's a town that has changed drastically in a little over a month.

"It's heartbreaking. You don't have an idea until you go through it and then wham it is over," said Marmaduke resident Ruby Lee.

For Marmaduke residents, like Lee who lost their homes following April 2nd's tornado, the past month has been trying as everyone has looked for ways to cope.

"A lot of prayer, a lot of prayer," said Lee.

Even though the Lee's lost their home and live outside of town now, they still planted their garden like they do every year. The reason they did is because Marmaduke is their home.

"We always plant a garden, and we raise a lot of our food," said Lee.

Thursday, the cleanup effort kicked into high gear as the county settled on a 40 day work contract to move tornado debris out of Marmaduke.

"Big difference, I think you give people by the middle of next week, you are going to see a drastic change. I mean, it is already looking a lot better now," said Greene County Judge Jesse Dollars.

The crews will work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 6 days a week clearing and hauling off debris. The debris will be hauled to a nearby gravel pit where it will be burned. After one day on the job cleared lots of land are already popping up around Marmaduke.

"Things will be more enlightened to people. It will get them out of that old dreary disastrous state of mind and give them new hope," said Dollars.

For residents like Lee who have lived in Marmaduke for over 20 years, it's a tough site to watch pieces of the town hauled away. But as Ruby and her husband prepare to rebuild, they also hope to move on.

"I just hope we can live and get it back comfortable, so what little time we have that the lord gives us we will be in comfort, because right now we aren't," said Lee.

As the land clears and debris is hauled off, the next step for Marmaduke... reconstruction.

Saturday the clean up crews will focus their efforts around the Marmaduke School and along Highway 49 since there is typically less traffic on the weekends.