SALADO, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott spent the morning in Salado meeting with local leaders to determine the needs of the community and how the state can best serve them after the tornado damage.
“We’re going to be with you every step of the way,” Gov. Abbott said.
Also, he connected with individuals who lost everything. Jamie Wilson’s family lost their home.
“It’s exciting to be able to see that he does care,” Wilson said. “And he’s here with us. And he wanted to go into the home and see it even under the condition that it’s in and just really connect with us and make sure that we were being taken care of.”
Gov. Abbott says one of the top priorities right now is debris removal.
“The state is working with local authorities to assist in that debris removal,” Gov. Abbott said. “It’s so important to remove that debris as swiftly as possible and then to begin the rebuilding process”
Another priority is public awareness about donations and support.
“In typical Texas fashion, there are so many people in this area and in our state and maybe even in other states who want to step up and help those who’ve been damaged by these tornadoes,” Gov. Abbott said.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn says they have set up two phone lines.
Property owners who have been affected can call 254-534-4562.
Those wanting to donate or volunteer can call 254-534-2217.
Blackburn says over 70 structures were at least damaged by the tornado, including churches being destroyed right before Easter Sunday. But, the pastors emphasized the church building is only a building, and the church is still there.
“I get emotional, not because of the loss, but because of the love that’s been poured out on our community,” Cedar Valley Baptist Church pastor Donnie Jackson said.
The cross that hung in the sanctuary is untouched, and it is the focal point for tomorrow’s Easter Sunday service.
“Everything was destroyed, but the cross wasn’t touched,” Jackson said. “Tomorrow morning we’re going to have service on this slab.”
Jackson says the building is gone, but the church is stronger than it’s ever been.