Reporting Jason Allen
HOOD COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) - The tornado two weeks ago in Hood County didn’t just take homes. It took what had become a home away from home for some of the youngest victims.
Located right in the middle of the Rancho Brazos community that took a direct hit from the storm, the Boys and Girls Clubhouse had a wall collapse, the roof ripped off, leaving it as unusable as most of the homes in the neighborhood.
Kids who lost their homes, were just as affected by the sight of the clubhouse being damaged.
“It was pretty sad,” said 11-year-old Mateo Tort. “It was like, some of the walls collapsed in.”
The club had become a huge success in the community over the last two years, said Pamela Ennis. In a partnership with Acton United Methodist Church, which Ennis works for and which provided the building space, membership had tripled.
In the days immediately after the storm, as families scattered finding new places to live, Ennis knew the club had to find a way to keep kids together.
“They miss their friends,” she said. “They miss being together the same way they were together when we were in the community center.”
Five days after the storm, they were meeting again at Acton Elementary School. It wasn’t the same place, but it was the same people. Kids were running, playing, offering no hint to anyone that they had just been through something traumatic. The kids had probably become the teachers, Ennis said, in how to deal with a tragedy.
The club has not been able to reconnect with every member, especially those in the teen program. It will continue to meet over the summer though. The church has already committed to busing kids in every day.
It will also start work on an expanded center in Ranchos Brazos, on the same site where the damaged building sits now.
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