Tornado hits Abilene woman’s home on 70th birthday but her spirits can’t be broken

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – A tornado tore through Abilene early Saturday morning and it happened on a woman’s 70th birthday. But make no mistake, she’s not letting it get her spirits down. 

Saturday’s tornado destroyed many homes in South Abilene, but city leaders are calling for the community to be Abilene Strong and rally around those in need. Hundreds of residents answered that call by coming out in full force to help rebuild.

Fear, devastation and relief are just some of the emotions running through many residents’ minds following Saturday morning’s tornado.

“I could just see the whole house blowing away so thank god that it didn’t,” 45-year resident Marsha Smith said.

For Smith, Saturday was a monumental day in her life not only because of the storm.

“Well it was my 70th birthday,” Smith said.

While her house may be broken, it will take a lot more than a twister to tear down her spirits.

“Which was a real nice birthday present cause at least I lived to get to be 70,” Smith said.

Marsha is just one of many residents whose homes are destroyed, but as it’s proven time and time again when bad things happen the community steps up.

“Abilene has always been resilient,” Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said.

“If it was us we would love if someone came and helped us so we just want to take care of our neighbors and take care of the community of Abilene,” Volunteer Conrad Hilton said.

At least 500 people came out to lend a hand to friends, neighbors, and strangers alike.

“I think it’s very important that people have each other’s back, they help each other out, just be there for each other, be a community and build on to that,” Sierra Pruitt said.

The community showed we are Abilene Strong.

“I call them Angels. It’s amazing. Thank you, thank you,” Smith said.

If you still want to help your community there will be an additional cleanup Monday morning organized by the United Way of Abilene and the Big Country Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. The group will be meeting at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church at 9 a.m. for needs, assessments and general cleanup efforts. If you’d like to help with donations, the Community Foundation of Abilene has set up a donation account. United Way also working to help out those who need it.

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