WYNNE, Ark. – Following a deadly tornado where at least four people were killed, and multiple people were injured Friday night, community members are coming together to pick up the pieces and recover.
Wynne Mayor Jennifer Hobbs said around 25-30 people went to the county’s hospital for storm-related injuries. No information has been released on the victims who were killed in the storm.
During a press conference Friday night, troopers with the Arkansas State Police said one of the hardest was the community of Wynne.
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has activated the Arkansas National Guard to assist ASP and local law enforcement throughout the state, including in Wynne.
Some of the most affected areas in the town were the high school, businesses, and houses. Mike Harris said his childhood home where his mother still lives suffered major damage.
“All the memories that we have in the house of growing up are kind of gone,” Harris said.
Ellis said a large part of the house’s roof was ripped off and a lot of their windows and parts of the house are damaged.
He said before the tornado happened, he was in Little Rock but drove to Wynne when he saw a tornado was headed in the area. Once he got to his mom’s house, he helped her into a closet while he and his son hunkered down in the hallway.
“We began to hear things hit the doors, hit the walls, then glass shatters, ears start to pop, and then you hear wood cracking and major slams and crashes and just total chaos,” Ellis said.
Ellis and his son were covered by a mattress when the unthinkable happened.
“The mattress began to lift up and pick up.” Ellis goes on to say, “I began to go with it and I honestly thought at that moment I was about to be sucked out of the house. I thought that was it.”
He adds thankfully he landed back on the floor, even though a piece of glass landed in his arm he was happy none of his other family members were hurt.
“God took care of us and watched over us,” Ellis said.
Michelle McGill said her home wasn’t badly damaged, however just about everything they owned around it was destroyed.
“We had a boat on the other side of the house, a swimming pool, a hot tub and a huge deck back there and at least a 100-year-old tree (was ripped from the ground),” McGill said.
Both McGill and Ellis said recovery will be a long road, but they are thankful for all of the help the community has given them.
Ellis said after the tornado he wants to share with people what he feels is most important.
“Just take every moment that you have with the ones you love the most and make every moment count,” Ellis stated.