GLENN HEIGHTS — Less than 24 hours after residents in Glenn Heights were filled with Christmas spirit, many of their lives were ripped apart by an ER-3 tornado. The twister tore through the city, destroying more than 100 homes, devouring vehicles, damaging churches and businesses and caused numerous downed power lines and natural gas leaks.
But as all must do, the City of Glenn Heights rebuilt, recovered and now will prepare to rejoice once again. The next step in the recovery process was taken Friday, Dec. 16 when the City of Glenn Heights recognized and expressed its sincere gratitude to each first responder who risked his or her life helping the residents affected by the tornado.
“My team remained committed to ensuring our residents were safe and accounted for,” said Glenn Heights Fire Chief Eddie Burns in a pre-event press release. “The evening [was] a night set aside to recognize and acknowledge everyone that helped during the time of the tornado and throughout the aftermath.”
According to a press release issued before the Friday event, Glenn Heights received assistance from several neighboring cities and organizations. Those who render aid included the cities of Red Oak, Ovilla, Lancaster, DeSoto and Dallas Fire Departments, along with Ellis County and Duncanville Emergency Management, Team Rubicon, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), and many other groups. The organizations provided aid with shelter, food, clothing distribution and direct financial assistance in the form of gift cards.
“We would not have successfully overcome this unfortunate event without every helping hand. Our goal is to properly thank and recognize those people,” added Glenn Heights Mayor Leon P. Tate.
Key figures in Glenn Heights, which was incorporated in 1969 and is divided between Dallas and Ellis Counties, delivered messages of thanks to those in attendance Friday evening. Those speakers included Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Ellis County Commissioner Kyle Butler, Mayor Tate, several council members and pastors Ron Adams and Kevin Taylor.
*Additional reporting and photos by Kelsey Poynor/WDL
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith