'Emotionally Wounded' Towns Strucked By The Deadly Tornadoes Receive Prayer, Support

Since the deadly tornadoes struck Dallas on Dec. 26, the humanitarian organization Operation Blessing has trained and sent out more than 2,000 volunteers to help homeowners recover.

The twisters hit the communities of Rowlett and Garland especially hard with winds close to 200 miles an hour. They left more than 800 homes destroyed or damaged.

Dr. Mitch Land, dean of the School of Communications & the Arts at Regent University, is one of the survivors, along with 22 family members who were celebrating Christmas in his Rowlett home.

He's grateful that they're alive and that so many in Rowlett were spared.

"The majority survived. It's amazing how few were hurt physically, but emotionally, everyone's hurt, everyone's wounded," he said.

Land says the tornado severely damaged his home, along with rains that followed.

"The ceiling fell because it started raining and it rained for two days straight," he recalled. "There's at least two inches of water in the house. All the hardwood and all the carpet is completely ruined. We know and realize that it's all just stuff and it doesn't matter what it costs -- it's all stuff."

Operation Blessing has been working for the last week in Rowlett and Garland. Volunteers have helped survivors salvage their belongings and clear debris.

"Operation Blessing volunteers have been awesome," said homeowner Sonya Muncy. "They've been here almost every day and every day they've helped us do something."

Survivor Dyon Drain admitted he had some trouble accepting help because he's normally the one to give it. He has served in multiple disasters on the Texas Baptist Men's chainsaw teams.

"To see people in need and to help them is natural and comfortable for me," he explained. "But to be on this end is new territory and it's not comfortable."

Operation Blessing focuses not just on the physical but on survivors' emotional and spiritual needs as well. Volunteers take time to hear people's stories and to pray with them.

Land says the ministry has profoundly blessed his family.

"This brings us to tears. It makes us just weep," he said. "It's almost worth going through just because Operation Blessing cares for us."

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