Families Race to Save Valuables After Tornado

With thunderstorms in the forecast Thursday, people cleaning up Sunday's tornado damage are working against the clock before rain does additional harm.

"Being able to get any of our memories out is really what matters now. Not the stuff," said Courtney Devlin.

Devlin's parents lost their home on Royal Lane when the tornado swept through North Dallas Sunday night. The house does not have a roof and will likely have to be demolished. Until then, Devlin says the family is hoping to save photos, important documents and family heirlooms.

"It's a day-by-day struggle to figure out what we can save and what we just have to bless and release because we can't go back in," Devlin explained.

"We were able to get her wedding dress, their wedding album," Devlin added. "It's unfathomable to think I'm triaging memories."

Tuesday, she had help. After putting out a call for assistance on Facebook, Devlin says people from her professional circle and church friends began spreading the word the family could use a hand. People Devlin never met began showing up.

"You're just offering a hand. It's hard for people to deal with. I can tell," said Blake Whitner.

Whitner worked with two other volunteers to help clear Devlin's driveway of tree branches so they could get their cars out.

"It's quite devastating, it's something I can't even imagine," Whitner said. "I feel for everybody that's having to be relocated from their homes. It's the real deal."

"They're predicting rain on Thursday, so we're all under the gun of trying to get all of our houses covered," said Emily, a neighbor who preferred not to give her last name.

"A lot of the insurance adjusters can't come out for 10 days so we're just trying to fix what's broken now and not cause any more damage to our house," Emily said.

Her family, including a newborn baby boy, are staying with relatives.

Throughout the neighborhood, crews continue to clear downed trees and tornado debris. Many trees were large and decades old.

Emily says the neighborhood likely won't look the same and it's unclear how long a fully recovery would take.

"A new normal will have to come," Emily said.

"We're friends with all of our neighbors and everybody is safe and healthy and not injured," she added. "In the scheme of things, we're doing really great."

It's a sentiment Devlin shared too.

"As I was driving here on Sunday night, the last phone call I got said the house is gone and the paramedics are pulling mom out. I didn't know where my dad was," said Devlin. "To roll up this driveway on Sunday night after getting the scariest phone call I could imagine, it was the greatest relief to see my mom sitting there and my dad walking around. For that, I just have to thank God."

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