TUPELO, Mississippi (NBC News) – A Northern Mississippi church has released a video documenting the destruction caused by a massively violent tornado that struck their community in late April.
“It really kinda brought things back, seeing it a week later,” said Brad Bullock, technical director for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Tupelo, Mississippi. He posted the stunning security-camera footage to his YouTube account on Tuesday night.
“The building was really damaged,” Bullock told NBC News, “About 50 percent of the front of the building is gone.”
Across the country, at least 35 people died in the late April twisters.
After the tornado that struck Tupelo, church members used a nearby gymnasium as their sanctuary to feed members of the community who were left without power — and several without homes.
“A lot of folks are displaced,” said Bullock. “Right now you can’t even see the houses. This is a neighborhood that has huge beautiful oak trees that survived the 1936 tornado and a lot of those are gone.”
A neighbor of the church, architect Bessy Roberts mourned for her town’s losses.
“In the areas that were hit, it’s just unreal. Two-hundred year old oak trees just ripped up. There are areas that you could never see through before. Hundreds and hundreds of trees, gone.”
Roberts explained that her company has helped to clean up books and find rooms for Kindergarten students who were left without a classroom after the Tornado.
As cleanup begins and community spirit holds strong, Bullock is hopeful that the church will re-open and the community will thrive again.
“We have a pastor that went through Katrina so he has experience in this,” he said speaking of church pastor Dr. Rick Brooks. “We’re looking from 18 months to two years to reopen. We have people out there now looking to assess the damage.”