TN neighbors lean on each other to pick up the pieces after tornado

TN neighbors lean on each other to pick up the pieces after tornado

LUTTS, TN (WAFF) - Hymnals are blown open, pews scattered, the only thing left standing is the entry way to the Lutts United Methodist Church.

Less than 300 feet away, the community's post office is knocked down to rubble.

"In a few seconds it was over, it didn't last very long," explained storm survivor Katie Steele.

Steele sought shelter at her in-laws house just before the storm hit. Her home was left unscathed but like many others, the home they sought shelter in suffered significant damage.

Mobile homes were blown off their foundations, roofs torn off and vehicles left mangled.

"It is a miracle, this whole community we had some cuts and scrapes, but nobody died in this," said Steele.

The Lutts community may be knocked down psychically, but their spirits are hopeful with the help from their neighbors.
"My house is still livable, I'm one of the fortunate ones," added Steele.

Keith Wilbanks knew he needed to help his neighbors, but nothing could prepare him for what he was going to see at first light Thursday morning.

"We're just devastated," expressed Wilbanks. "Our church our post office, that's where I go to church at the Lutts Methodist the building is gone the post office is gone so many of my neighbor's houses are gone."

As the day went on crews got to work, saying it is all about neighbors helping neighbors and prioritizing needs.

"Help the ones that need the help the worst first," explained Wilbanks,

Volunteers and mutual aid continues to pour into the community to lend a helping hand.

"A lot of these folks that are here are giving up their family get together on Christmas eve to help other people and that just means so much," said Wilbanks.

It is a long road to recovery for this small community on Christmas Eve.

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