Tornado victims continue cleanup in cold, snowy weather

OAK GROVE, Mo. - Saturday marked the first day of tornado cleanup with a mix of snow.

Despite the cold temperatures, there were still people cleaning up debris and meeting with insurance adjusters in Oak Grove.

Many received help from volunteers to salvage any personal belongings before it was destroyed by the snow. 

On Friday, people put tarps on their homes and insurance adjusters worked diligently to get to everyone’s claims. 

Mark Swartz, home was destroyed by the tornado.

“It’s 80 degrees in February and about 30 in March with snow, after a tornado destroyed our house,” said Mark Swartz. 

Mark and Jennifer Swartz were out to dinner with friends Monday night when an EF-3 tornado leveled their home, leaving nothing but a concrete slab. 

Saturday they stopped by what used to be their home to pick up the last of their belongings. They had help from about a dozen of their fellow church members, braving the cold to save what they could. 

“But yes, I imagine it would make it more difficult just for the cold factor if nothing else,” said Jennifer. 

“So it’s going to be difficult we’ll get our last little bit of stuff cleaned up,” said Mark.

Some left their belongings behind to be destroyed in the snow, and others had everything cleaned out before snow came into the forecast like Brenda and Bruce Johnson. 

“People are so great about coming out and helping the last three days that we got all of our stuff off the site,” said Bruce. 

They say it would not have been possible without volunteers.

“They just came and helped and worked so hard and that’s why we don’t have to be our here in the snow today to do those things,” said Brenda. 

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Ali Hoxie can be reached at ali.hoxie@kshb.com

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