Van Vleck residents clean up after EF1 tornado rips through community

- They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but tornadoes do. Don't take my word for it, just ask Gary Ashton. This is the second time a twister came calling.

"Initially I thought it was gonna pass us because I had been watching the weather all morning. I said 'aw it's not going to be that bad. It's gonna pass us.' But it didn't."

The twister took out two barns, but did a real number on his sister's home next door. Everyone was okay, but the one back in the 1980's went on to kill someone. Not this time. Nobody died in Van Vleck, but it's hard to imagine how. The town took a beating. Sheriff Skippy Osborne says he's still not sure the full extent of the damage.

"We're still piecing it together but we figure it's about 15 homes that have had major damage to them," Osborne said.

Bear in mind though that there are only about 500 households in the entire town, so just about everyone knows someone effected. Some damage is light. Some is catastrophic. While the community is banding together,. the Red Cross is stepping in too.

"Today we are handing out bulk distribution. We are handing out water and tarps. They are really in need and cleaning kits and helping people get back on their feet."

And they will get back on their feet. Small towns can have a big sense of community and self-reliance. The people here don't wait for help. They are the help. They just want the weather that has been so cruel to show some kindness and let them get about doing what needs doing. Even as he works cleaning up the damage from his second twister, Gary Ashton has already figured out if he's lucky or unlucky.

"I'm one of the most blessed people in the world. I think that was just God looking out for me. For all of us. Two tornadoes couldn't kill you? No!"

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