Saturday, May 23, 2015

"This is Just a Setback" - Bridgeport Residents Begin to Rebuild

by Carl Manning, guest contributor

Red Cross workers help residents affected by a tornado in Bridgeport, TX.

Wesley Campbell was in bed when he heard the sounds outside his home and he knew the worst was happening. A tornado was heading straight for his home in a rural area near Bridgeport, Texas.

His wife, Mickey, yelled for him to get up and get out of the house, and they headed for the back door. But it was too late.

“We got there and that was as far as we got before it hit,” he recalled. “We got down behind the washer and dryer and waited. I could feel the house moving in all directions and we prayed hard.”

Bridgeport resident Wesley Campbell looks at damage to his
home after a tornado outbreak.
It didn’t take Wesley long to realize his worst fears had come true – the house he had called home for 15 years was in tatters and scattered. Sitting on the tailgate of his pickup, Wesley sipped from a bottle of water and looked at what’s left as friends and family gathered up what they could to put in his storage barn.

“This is our house, so sure, we’ll rebuild,” he said. “This is just a setback.”

As he looked around, Red Cross workers began arriving to offer assistance to Wesley and his neighbors. 

“It’s wonderful and unbelievable that so many came out to help. It makes me feel good. People I don’t even know are here,” he said of the Red Cross workers and others who were there to help.

A few hundred yards away, Scott Brandon talked to a Red Cross worker about losing his trailer home during a three-minute ordeal he said he’ll never forget.

“The trailer started moving and then it quit. Then it started moving again and then it stopped and it rained hard for an hour,” he recalled. 

Looking at the twisted wreckage that once was his home, Scott shook his head and said, “I’ve been walking around in a daze, feeling out of place and wanting to cry. But all my friends are okay and that’s what matters.” 

As he talked, a Red Cross emergency response vehicle arrived, bouncing along the rut-filled dirt road to set up operations to hand out snacks and water plus clean-up items like work gloves and tarps.

“They’re here to help us and if they can help us, that’ll be great,” Scott said.

One Red Cross worker grabbed an armload of work gloves from the vehicle and started passing them out to those working on a house with its metal roof twisted and torn and its windows broken.

Another standing by the Red Cross vehicle was busy handing out bottled water and snacks. One woman in line with her children and two dogs, when offered condolences, smiled and said, “Oh, it can all be replaced.”

The Red Cross continues to provide critical humanitarian relief in Bridgeport, Runaway Bay, Mineral Wells and more than 70 other counties around Texas during this ongoing spring storm relief effort. You can help! Visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS to give.

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