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In the wake of the storm that devastated Hot Springs Village, community resiliency shines



Little Rock, Arkansas – There are moments when the worst possible circumstances may bring out the best in individuals.

The neighborhood around Vascongadas Way was very severely affected; there were numerous fallen trees, many of which fell on houses. The fact that there have been no reported fatalities or significant injuries is a miracle.

“Given the damage in this particular section of the village, it is a blessing and very surprising that nobody was hurt. Thanks be to God that it wasn’t worse than it was,” said Father Bill Elser, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church.

The Sacred Heart Church held an afternoon service and a burial today despite the lack of electricity, and many loyal parishioners showed up.

“Made it into our church through the darkness, into our church that has plenty of light because of the windows—and we carried on as we normally would,” Elser said.

After the afternoon service, we went with Father Bill to see the damage caused by the tornado and to see how his parishioners who had lost their homes fared.

“I got word that some of my parishioners were affected. Called a few of them, see that they were okay, but found out that some of their homes had trees on them. We’re just keeping up with everybody and making sure our parishioners who have medical issues are in a good place and being taken care of until they’re able to get back in their own home,” he said.

One woman who had four trees fall on her house was one of the people we spoke with. She talked about the horrifying tornado experience she had, hiding in a closet and once feeling like her house was being lifted.

“I’ve had a rough few years with different things in my life and, I never want to go through that again,” said Kelly Davies, a Hot Springs Village resident. It was not something I’ve ever experienced, and I came from Illinois, we have tornadoes up there—but this was the first one I’ve ever gone through myself, and I don’t want to do that again.”

The town may be without power for a little while longer for many residents, but the spirit of the community is stronger than ever.


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