NEWARK, AR -- By now, most of you have likely heard about the tornado that destroyed parts of Enterprise, Alabama, including the high school. What you probably don't know is that one of those students killed, Katie Strunk, has family right here in Region 8.
Independence County is a place Katie's family calls home. Her great-grandmother is buried at the Newark Blue Springs Cemetery and now, after her sudden death, Katie will be laid to rest at the young age of 16.
Last Thursday, a tornado ripped through Enterprise, Alabama damaging an 8 mile radius in the town and totally destroying the Enterprise High School.
"There were over 2000 students in the high school. We lost 8 of them," says Keith Ellis, Katie's Preacher from Enterprise who presided over the graveside service.
Katie Strunk was one of the eight killed in the debris of her own high school. She died just steps away from her mother.
"Her mother is a teacher at the same high school and was just a few feet from her daughter. She had to be with her class and Katie of course had to be with her class. She saw her as they were going into position, but was not able to bring Katie with her," says Ellis.
Now six days later and after traveling over 10 hours here to Arkansas, Katie's mother, father, and her little brother and sister are mourning a loss that any family would fear.
"Katie had just had her 16th birthday. She had just turned 16 and she was a beautiful, beautiful young lady. Our community is devastated. This family is devastated, but their faith is strong. We don't know the answers, but we know that god cares for us," says Ellis.
This isn't a preacher just doing his job. Keith Ellis knew Katie very well, something that makes this funeral that much harder.