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Volunteers Turn Out To Help Following Severe Storm Damage Tuesday

Credit Michele Skalicky
A Piece Of Lumber Is Speared Into the Ground Amidst Other Storm Debris In Ozark

After a disaster, people are always looking for a way to help.  And in Ozark Wednesday it was no different.  A suspected tornado tore through the Waterford and a nearby subdivision in northeast Ozark Tuesday night, damaging more than 100 homes, about two dozen severely.

School was canceled Wednesday in the Ozark district, and when Craig Kondracki, a counselor at Ozark East and West Elementary Schools heard about the need for volunteers to help pick up storm debris, he rallied a group of district employees to help.

People were spread out across a grassy field between damaged houses, including two that were all but destroyed, picking up bits of lumber, shingles and other items.  Kondracki was out of breath from pushing a wheelbarrow full of debris.

"It's part of our community," he said.  "We're excited and happy to help, and you look around and see how much the help is needed , and so we're all willing to join in.  I like looking down here.  You can see how many cars , I don't know--20, 25 cars and so, it's just part of the Ozark community, part of our school district, and we just want to help. Love our neighbors, that's what we want to do."

A lot of people were looking for an opportunity to help, according to Kondracki.  He was given this address by someone in the district office.  At least 40 Ozark School District employees turned out to lend a hand.  Kondracki said “it was a joy” to be able to do his part.

"It's rewarding to be able to come alongside our neighbors and help and love them in this way and serve them," he said.  "This is what we want to be all about in the Ozark School District, so canceling school and canceling sporting events today and things like that are a no-brainer, really."

Ozark resident, Kevin McCall, and his daughters also came out to help.  They combed an area around a house that was destroyed just off Highway J to collect any personal belongings they could find so the items could be returned to the homeowners.

Credit Michele Skalicky
A House That Was Destroyed During Storms April 30

"We've driven by their house for years, and we just wanted to come and help any way we could," he said.

McCall and his family were home in their storm shelter when the severe weather moved through Tuesday night, but he said the high winds that night missed them.  He wanted to help his neighbors in any way he could.

"It's an honor to be blessed and be able to come out and help," he said.

His daughters, Karley and Katie McCall, were also happy to do their part.

"We have the privilege to be ok so we can come out and help others who are a little less fortunate," said Karley.  "It's just part of your duty as being a good friend and good neighbor, a good Christian to come out and help others."

"It feels good that you can, like, help something bigger than yourself," said Katie.

The storms also caused damage, some severe, in parts of Greene County including near Rogersville and Willard.   Areas near Wheaton in Barry County were also hit hard by the storms.

To find out how to volunteer or to donate money, call the Springfield-Greene County Office of Emergency Management at (417) 869-6040 and Christian County Emergency Management at (417) 582-5400.