ROWLETT (CBS 11 NEWS) – In tornado-ravaged neighborhoods across North Texas, the devastation doesn’t quite translate on TV.
“My mouth was just gaping open,” says Renee Ferguson, of Dallas. “I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing.” And even seeing it, Ferguson, wasn’t prepared for the street after street magnitude of the loss, one month later.
“So you think, progress is being made,” says Ferguson, “and then you realize that life is at a standstill, it is at an absolute standstill for hundreds of people and their families.” But, Ferguson wasn’t coming to the Rowlett neighborhood to sight-see. She was coming to help.
The owner of Dallas’ Junk King had been pulled into an effort to clear away piles of head high garbage and debris on Kensington Drive. Homeowners still on the street were thrilled to see the volunteers arrive.
“I was just sitting there crying!” says Gale Berry-Richards. “This is so awesome that there are still people in this world filled with compassion.” Berry-Richards contacted CBS 11 last week—astonished that Rowlett city leaders considered the tornado debris the responsibility of the individual homeowners. Nevertheless, a city spokesperson added that 100,000 cubic yards had already been removed.
Last week, Berry-Richards remained unconvinced, telling CBS 11: “Well, if they’ve made four passes through here, I’d like to know what they picked up—because it’s still there!”
Along with her husband, Danny, Gale’s passion hit a nerve.
Gib Shellenberger, owner of a Dallas company called ‘Bubbatugs’ donated dumpsters. But, he had no labor to offer. So a quick call to Ferguson and she brought in volunteers from Junk King to help fill the dumpsters and Sunbelt donated a free bobcat to help move the piles of heavy debris. Cody Rogers, a Junk King franchisee out of Fort Worth, volunteered to come run it. And suddenly, dark skies parted here, by simply hauling away the garbage.
“Just to see now that someone is doing something about it—it’s just so heartwarming,” said Gale, as the tears started to form.
True, a half dozen or so dumpsters will barely make a dent, when hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Still—
“Those dumpsters down there give people hope,” says Danny, “and it’s going to be okay.”
And that’s just priceless.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)