AS the storms raged through East Texas in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, first responders were hitting the ground running before the winds completely died down. The calls began at 3 a.m. for some – calls of damage, road closures needed and yes, fear of what just occurred in a large residential area of Kilgore.
THEY were found exhausted and hungry at the Circle Café later in the day attempting to fuel up and regain energy to head back out. For the most part the crews were quiet and subdued and yet no one complained about the afternoon ahead. One long table was filled with City of Kilgore workers and in the middle sat City Manager Josh Selleck. He too, was dressed in work clothes, boots and safety vest that let onlookers know his hands had also been right in there helping those in need. Cordial as always, he took the serious of task at hand as plans were also laid out for the afternoon ahead.
At the next table sat Rescue Chief Edgar Rachal and part of his Rescue Team attempting to do the same thing until they were asked if they had lost anything at their own homes. Their mood lightened immediately as they engaged in discussing their own homes.
“It took out my fence, my tool shed and my prize chicken,” said Edgar. “So many trees were down, I didn’t think I was going to get off our road. I finally managed to go down Turkey Creek and turn back on Florence. But, we were blessed. Across the road a tree went through the roof of a 90-year-old woman’s bedroom roof and missed her by inches. We were blessed no one was seriously injured although I will miss my chicken.”
“I had only two chickens right now and this one’s name was Agnes. I could call her and she would come at a dead run with those wings flapping to get to me. A tree came down on her and I really do hate it. I guess it was meant to be. No more golden eggs,” he quipped. “No, wait that’s the goose that laid the golden eggs...”
Looking on the brighter side of Edgar’s loss, the Rescue team started planning a Firefighter funeral for Agnes with thoughts of placing her in a little box and to let her ride to the cemetery on top of the Rescue Unit. Yes, they were ready to go back to work and will be steadily after it for several weeks. They will need all of the lighter side they can get.
What some may consider as small losses others consider major. One call received right after the storm was from Kilgoreite Betty Baker. She was sitting in her sewing room when the storm hit which caused her to run down the hall after her husband, Jimmy. His large workshop was totaled, large metal covers destroyed, a tree had fallen across one boat in the back yard, and a tree in the front yard fell on a pontoon boat and a section of a fence torn off.
“It took a turn around the house with some things ended up on the opposite side or in the front and….it broke my water fountain,” said Betty, who was heartbroken. “I was waiting for dry weather to decorate the fountain for spring
“We bought the fountain about 15 years ago and it had a lady (statue) on top of it. I just loved it. I had been making a rock garden around it and I was so looking forward to warmer weather to decorate it. During the winter, we had ducks swimming on top of the ice in the fountain.”
There was no further mention about the boats during this particular conversation, but here is a word to the wise: she better watch out or that Rescue team will talk her out of the lady to put on top of Agnes’ grave.
With that being said, we all need a little fun where you can find it, as she too felt very blessed that no one was hurt and knowing the damage could have been worse.
LIVING in a rural area and raised as an oilfield brat, I also want to say thank you for the oilfield workers who are always up at the crack of dawn and in my area often the first ones out to monitor the situation and report back.
WE are grateful for first responders and the many volunteers who continue to step up to the plate
THE 82ND Anniversary of the New London School Explosion is coming up on March 18. The anniversary marks the destruction of the school and the loss of more than 295 students and teachers.
Jimmie Piercy, President of the London Museum Board, will be the guest speaker for Book Talk, 12 Noon, March 19, 2019 at the McMillan Memorial Library in Overton. Mrs. Piercy will discuss the incident of March 18, 1937 and its impact on the people in the community.
“My father and grandfather were rescue workers after the explosion,” she said. “I am a docent at the London Museum and I give tours, but I also wait on tables, clean and do whatever is needed,” she laughed.
Mrs. Piercy and her husband, Dennis, live in Overton. She is a retired English teacher from Kilgore High School. Please plan on attending her talk. The library is located at 401 S. Commerce St., Overton, TX.
May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week. In the meantime, we may be reached at email@example.com or 903-984-2593.