Extremely powerful straight-line winds caused severe damage to homes and businesses across Longview this week. The National Weather Service said that gusts reached as high as 90 mph along a path nearly 17 miles long and more than 2,000 yards wide. KLTV meteorologist Mark Scirto compared the Longview storms to “an EF-1 tornado and a high-end Category 1 hurricane.”
Mayor Andy Mack confirmed that there were no fatalities nor serious injuries in Longview, but there was plenty of damage left behind.
Roofs were ripped apart. Large trees and power lines were toppled. The Longview storms resulted in widespread power outages and even forced some East Texas school districts to delay or cancel classes. Residents shared stunning photos of the damage on Facebook, showing massive amount of debris in their yards and on top of their houses.
But nothing could prepare Alicia Price for what she saw firsthand. “Facebook does not really do the damage justice,” she said. “You drive down through here and see roofs ripped off homes, huge trees through homes, windows blown out, patio doors blown out. The damage is pretty astronomical.”
That prompted Price, an invoicing specialist with Stonewater Roofing, to spring into action. She began coordinating with friends, business owners, police and city officials in Longview. The goal was to donate time, money and supplies to those impacted by this brutal storm, as well as those trying to clean up the mess that it left behind.
“We just wanted to give back to the community and help,” Price explained.
The team set up camp at the corner of Judson Road and Eden Drive. There, they have been providing barbecue meals around the clock and offering assistance in any way possible. “People are showing up to help,” stated Price early Friday. “Even this morning, I had some random people drop some water off. I don’t even know how they knew we were here.”
Along with the homeowners who saw property damage from the storm, Price and her team are also helping the city workers who have been busy cleaning up the storm’s path of destruction. “The city and police department were very welcoming,” Price added. “They’ve had nobody offer, so they were very excited that we were here and showing up.”
“When incidents like these happen, this is where we set aside trying to sell a roof,” explained Trent Spradlin, Chief Marketing Officer with Stonewater Roofing. “We set that aside for being empathetic to people who have lost something. All of us here at Stonewater obviously have experienced loss of some sort at some time, and we know what that’s like.”
“Whether its a homeowner or a city employee that’s been working throughout the night and during the day, giving them a break and some sense of normalcy, not having to worry about not having electricity at home to cook food and things of that nature, really is the reason that we’re doing this,” Spradlin elaborated. “It speaks directly to the Stonewater culture.”