By Message Staff
RUSTON – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, during a press conference in Ruston Thursday, April 25, praised the faith-based community and Louisiana residents for their response in the wake of a tornado that caused significant damage and loss of life in parts of the state.
“What we’ve seen up to now in the Ruston area and really all across the state of Louisiana has been Louisianans stepping up and doing what they do best and that is being neighbor to one another,” Edwards said. “Especially the faith based community has been tremendous, the number of groups that are here cooking for first responders and for those whose homes have been damaged.”
Edwards arrived in Ruston Thursday afternoon after surveying the damage from the air with Louisiana Tech University President Les Guice, Lincoln Mayor Ronny Walker and Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone. He described the damage as “more remarkable than it is from the ground. And the damage is extensive.”
He urged residents to avoid travel throughout Lincoln Parish and allow emergency officials to assess damage. A curfew is in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Ruston.
He shared the White House, the state’s entire congressional delegation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency counterparts have contacted him and have pledged their support.
Edwards asked for prayers for the family of Kendra Butler and her son, Remington. The two died after a tree crashed onto their home.
“Obviously, that is very tragic and I would invite everyone to join their prayers to mine for that family and for this community and really for anyone who has sustained damage,” Edwards said.
Preliminary results from the National Weather Service indicate the tornado that devastated parts of Ruston was at least an EF-3, packing winds of 135 mph or greater.
The National Weather Service also confirmed an EF2 near San Augustine, Texas, with winds of 111-135 mph, and an EF1 near Mooringsport, with winds of 86-110 mph. The possible path of the storm was approximately 150 miles, from San Augustine to northeast Union Parish.
Hours after the storm passed, Louisiana Baptists were among those who quickly responded.
Members of the Louisiana Tech University Baptist Collegiate Ministry and Northwestern State University BCM Director Bill Collins help clear off some oak trees that fell on the roof of the BCM’s chapel.
Rolling Hills Ministry Disaster Relief team members prepared meals for impacted residents, first responders and volunteers at the Springs Church. Thursday evening the team planned to serve meals at Emmanuel Baptist Church’s Family Life Center.
Additionally, Rolling Hills is collecting supplies to help residents affected by the recent storm. The following items may be dropped off at any of its locations in Arcadia, Bossier City, Monroe and Ruston.
• Trash Bags
• Basic Toiletries
• Toilet paper
• Paper Towels
• First Aid Supplies
• Styrofoam Cups
• Snack Food
• Medium Duty Type Gloves
• Laundry Detergent
• Disinfectant and Wipes
• Bug Spray and Sunscreen
• Ziplock Bags (sandwiches)
• Paper Bags