Hometown Heroes--Screven Tornado Cleanup Volunteers

Last week, a tornado ripped through the small Wayne County town of Screven. By Friday, an army of volunteers arrived with bulldozers and backhoes to clear away the rubble.

It's not often we call home wreckers heroes. But to people in Screven, these demolition crews certainly were. Over the weekend, a group of contractors arrived days after a tornado wrecked homes and businesses. These men donated their time, equipment and fuel to clear wreckage.

"They said they were here to remove the house and to stand back, they would take care of it and haul it off," said tornado victim Melvin Boyette.

The job would have cost homeowners hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Many of these volunteers have done the same at other disasters around the state.

"Our whole crowd feels like it's a ministry, and we feel like we were fortunate that this particular tragedy didn't happen at our house," said organizer Ellis Wood.

Ton by ton, they loaded dump trucks and hauled away more debris than the small town could handle.

"They're doing a tremendous job," Mayor Donald Boyette said. "It would have taken us six to eight months to clean up this mess."

Over three days, the group's only breaks were to cook their own meals and attend a bible study Easter Sunday.

Wood says they don't wish catastrophes on anyone. But none can think of a better way to spend a weekend than with good friends and helping others.

For their selfless efforts to help put a community back on its feet, this group of volunteers are this week's WTOC Hometown Heroes.

If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email  rwallace@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com