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Couple in tornado-ravaged Rolling Fork grateful for Virginia group's help: 'Love is still here'

Volunteer: 'It brings tears to your eyes to see all that the devastation has done'
The Ducking family and Brown Grove Preservation Group volunteers.
Posted at 6:57 PM, Apr 26, 2023

ROLLING FORK, Miss. — The view is something Cabria Ducking and Andrew Dennard can’t get away from. The Rolling Fork, Mississippi, couple are still numb from the turmoil their tiny town is in after a deadly tornado wiped away homes and businesses.

Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Rolling Fork, Mississippi

"We don’t have stores," Cabria Ducking said. "We only had a few stores and a few restaurants. Now we don’t have any."

At a tornado relief distribution site set up by volunteers with the Brown Grove Preservation Group from Hanover County, the couple recounted the story of how incredibly blessed they feel to be alive after hearing a thunderous noise and struggling to shut their front door just in time to take shelter in the bathroom.

READ: The emotional reason Virginians headed to tornado-ravaged Mississippi town

Andrew Dennard
Andrew Dennard

"By the time he put the kids in the bathtub, it was over," Andrew Dennard recalled. "I was in the hallway fitting to go into the bathroom, and it was over. It was so dark I had to use the headlights on the car and when I turned on the lights, I saw our trees laying down and saw men running down the street saying it’s bad, it’s bad, it’s rough."

Standing beneath a tree with broken limbs dangling into the shape of a cross, Dennard told McKinley Harris and his Brown Grove Preservation Group volunteers that it was confirmation God spared his family.

Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Rolling Fork, Mississippi

RELATED: Daunting recovery underway in tornado-devastated Mississippi

Harris and volunteers distributed nearly $10,000 in gift cards and cash to families, gave away clothing, toiletries and food.

Harris even gifted his custom van to a man who had been homeless and living in a truck that got tossed around in the storm while he was inside.

"It brings tears to your eyes to see all that the devastation has done," McKinley Harris said. "It’s just a blessing we were able to bless and help somebody else."

Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Rolling Fork, Mississippi

Travis Mickens said he was grateful for the donations.

"Sometimes when you’re at your lowest, you can feel that the world has forgotten about you," Mickens said. "So just to see that there are people out there that don’t forget you, I think it put hope out there that there is something better after this turns around for them."

Travis Mickens
Travis Mickens

To the Ducking family, thank you, hardly seems like enough.

"I think it’s showing love. For them to come here all the way from Virginia, it tells us that love is still here," Cabria Ducking said.

Though the group's mission was brief, they are grateful to hear neighbors say the impact and the kindness will long be remembered.

The Ducking family and Brown Grove Preservation Group volunteers.
The Ducking family and Brown Grove Preservation Group volunteers.

"I was like I made a difference and I really do appreciate my life that I have, because any minute it could be us. It could've been us plenty of times, but God spared, so I was just grateful," Kim Washington said.

Volunteer Renada Harris said she hopes the country does not forget about the victims of the March tornadoes.

"We brought a lot of goodness," Harris said. "We were in and were out just like the tornado. I just hope that the country doesn’t forget about the survivors of the tornado that hit Rolling Fork and Silver City and Amory and some communities in Arkansas as well."

Bonnica Cotman said that while the group was only on site for one day, the people she met made a big impact.

"I’m going to be staying in touch with some of them," Cotman said. "I still want to help them even though we are not there."

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Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Rolling Fork, Mississippi