Volunteers gather to clean up after Copeville, Farmersville tornadoes; victims remembered

- Volunteers showed up in Copeville in Collin County to help start the clean-up process and drop off supplies for storm victims.

Michelle Conrey is a nurse who lives less than a mile away from where an EF-1 twister killed two people at a gas station.

“I was standing right over there and he was right over here. And that’s when I heard the medic start yelling he has a pulse,” she said.

She helped paramedics work on a man she later came to learn was 65-year-old Jerry Brazeal.

“He was still breathing, but I knew he was not going to make it,” she said.

Conrey wants Brazeal’s family to know that he was conscious for a time and that she prayed for him until the end.

“I want them to know that he was being loved on,” she said. “I want his family to know that the last words he heard on this Earth were Jesus as he was going to meet Jesus. I want them to know that he didn’t die alone.”

Brazeal lived in a popup trailer behind the gas station. He and 49-year-old Jerry Funderburk, Jr.both died in the storm.

The National Weather Service has also determined that the storm spawned a second tornado that struck just to the north in Farmersville.

Bill Murray’s 88-year-old mother survived, despite the fact that the tornado tore the roof off her house. She calmly called her son to come get her afterward and he found her picking up pictures that were strewn throughout the house.

“She had glass in her hair and she said, “I don’t have a house,’” Murray said.

Back in Copeville, an estimated 300 volunteers showed up to help the victims. Some brought heavy equipment they used to tear down a day care building that’s been a longtime gathering site for the unincorporated community.

“We had just been there on Wednesday. So, it’s really sad. We were just there and it’s gone,” said Sarah Santana. “We just watched them pull it down and it was really sad.”

Others came with donations or to lend a hand. Wendy Sanders’ brother owns a feed store where volunteers helped salvage what they could.

“You look at this huge mess that you have to face and then people just come out of the woodwork and make it happen. It’s overwhelming,” she said.

“No matter what people think about how bad the world is, there’s still a whole lot of good people in this world,” added Michael McMeans.
 

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