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Tornado forces Laguna Heights community to rebuild

10 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, May 16 2023 May 16, 2023 May 16, 2023 10:39 AM May 16, 2023 in News - Local

A community shattered after a tornado ripped through Laguna Heights.

Martha Garza and her husband, Aureliano Silva, were asleep in bed when the storm rolled in.

"You could hear, the thunder, the lightning and that roaring sound," Garza said.

She says the tornado nearly took them with it.

"The roof blew off, and then we went up in the mattress," Garza said. "Something went 'pow' and then we went down on the mattress back to the ground. When we landed and then all the water was falling on us, we got all wet."

Garza says help arrived about 20 minutes later. Her husband, Aureliano, was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because his blood pressure was dangerously high. 

After he was released from the hospital, the couple returned to the neighborhood, but there was nothing left to come home to. 

"They told me, well, you and your husband cannot live in this house. It's contaminated, and everything needs to be replaced, the walls, the roof everything got wet," Garza said.

For now, they're staying with friends while they figure out what's next.

Members of the community are chipping in to help. That includes members of Island Baptist Church, just down the road from the neighborhood on Highway 100.

"We opened up a fund already, a lot of our church members have already been given literally thousands of dollars already," Pastor Bill Waddell said.

They are accepting any sort of donations to help the Laguna Heights community. But, the help doesn't need to come in the form of money to make a difference.

People who have volunteered their time to clean up is going a long way, something that Garza and Silva are grateful for.

Island Baptist Church says they're ready and willing to help anyone affected by the tornado, you do not have to be a member of the church to get assistance, just call (956) 761-5029.

Donations to the church can be made online. Make sure to specify your donation is for Laguna Heights Disaster Relief.

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