Cleanup efforts continue in Bryan County days after tornado

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT
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BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Bryan County communications manager confirmed that at least 22 homes were completely destroyed Tuesday night.

Many more homes sustained damage and the county is still working on a full assessment.

Walk through Pembroke with Johnnie Miller and you see the hurt left behind from the tornado. Homes damaged or destroyed, and tons of trees brought to the ground.

He says the tornado left hundreds of people with damage, many with little to no means to recover.

“In this district, there are poor people, there are older people. There are senior citizens that don’t have any insurance,” Mayor Pro-tem Johnnie Miller said.

Statesboro contractor Ellis Wood says his crew will be helping at no cost to homeowners or the city and they’re coming fully-loaded.

“From our little company, we’re carrying 6-7 pieces of heavy equipment, some dump trucks. We’ve got a number of volunteers and independents who’re also bringing a substantial amount of equipment,” Wood said.

City or county crews can only work on government property or the right of way. This weekend at least one volunteer crew will be there to help the city move the piled up debris. But they’re also able to help homeowners clear the debris from their property so they’re at least one step closer to starting over.

The space between Rosalind Gillard’s footboard and dresser is where she survived the storm.

The tornado that ripped through Pembroke and Bryan County brought her house down around her. Help came within minutes.

“My cousin and my neighbor said they weren’t going to stop until they found me,” Gillard said.

She and others can only look at the rubble that’s left of their homes. But she says she’s seen the community pull together this week.

They’ve seen people come from out of town to help. But it’s also neighbors supporting neighbors in their hour of need.

“Pembroke’s always been a little town and stuck together. And for me, I can say that I’m totally blessed,” she said.

Gillard says they’ll survive, thanks to something painted on the tarps - PembrokeStrong.

For those interested in volunteering, the Bryan County Family Connection is having volunteers meetup Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Lanier Primary at 6024 US Hwy 280 in Pembroke.

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