National groups, SMU students among volunteers cleaning up tornado damage

SMU students were among the volunteers who took advantage of the good weather Saturday to help clean up some of the damage left behind by Sunday’s tornado in North Dallas.

Normally, October Saturdays in Texas are dedicated to watching college football.

“That’s why you have DVRs. There are more important things to do today. Obviously, go Tech, but this is really important for us,” volunteer Jennifer Strong said.

This Saturday, the focus was on service.

“We were all in the basement, and I was wondering what was going on outside, what is going on around SMU? And I saw all the images, and I said I needed to help and, I said today was the day,” SMU freshman Antwan Richardson said.

“It’s going to take an entire army to do it. That is why I felt compelled to come out here and try to make a small difference,” Strong added.

About 100 SMU students and others in the North Texas community volunteered in the hardest hit areas Saturday.

Organizations from across the country were there to help as well.

Samaritan’s Purse sent a response team from California.

“It wasn’t just a few, it was overwhelming. Even today. Mercy Chefs is here and they are providing meals to those affected and those volunteers. The students are tarping roofs and cutting limbs so that people can get into their homes,” said Tom O’Brien, who is program manager with Samaritan’s Purse.

Sunday marks one week since a tornado with winds peaking at 140 miles per hour tore through homes, businesses, and schools in North Dallas.

While the financial loss is massive, many find peace in knowing lives were not lost.

It will take a while for things to get back to normal for those impacted by the storm, but the Dallas community is showing it is here to help.

“Just by coming out and helping someone in need. The reward is just to see them with a big smile on their face after,” SMU freshman Alison Fong said.

FEMA will be in Dallas and Richardson on Monday and Tuesday to assess the damage.

County and city leaders say they will request federal aid.