Help Comes Calling From Far Away, As Town Tries To Recover


The Highland Fire Department used to be comprised of four walls and a ceiling. Now, it's nothing more than a pile of mangled metal.

It's a scene eerily similar to dozens more in Sharp County. Pieces of people's lives left to wave in the wind amid treetops and rolling hills.

For people living in this community and neighboring Ash Flat, they're just trying to move forward after living to tell the tale of surviving an EF-3 tornado.

"We're just numb to it all but we're getting it done and everybody's helping," said storm victim, Ronda Renihan.

The sounds of hammers and chainsaws fill the air in the daytime, but it's the sounds of sighs of relief for dozens of families, that keeps volunteers poring in to help.

"We've had family and friends and people from all over the country have come in," said Highland mayor, Jerome Norwood.

Chris Overby and a group of recent high school graduates traveled from Texas to help clean up yards. He says he hopes the kids learn the lesson that life is more precious than posessions.

"Even with the discouragement of losing a home they realize that they're still alive," said Overby.

They're part of what's called the Air Land Emergency Resource Team (ALERT). In addition to plenty of heavy lifting, they're also offering families a little inspiration in the way of singing them songs.

"You just can't believe that people are that kind to you, they're concerned," said storm victim Hayden Stotts.

Highland still has a very long road to recovery. People there are working sun-up till sun-down, however there is a curfew in place here, so anyone caught on city streets after 7 p.m. will be asked to return home.

FEMA Disaster Assistance is now available:

Ash Flat Community Center

10 Arnhart Street (across from the Fire Station)

Ash Flat, Arkansas

Open Mon- Sun 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.

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