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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Governor visits storm victims in IC

Friday, March 14, 2008

(Photo)
Photo by Jody Shackelford
In the wake of the February tornado devastation, Izard County welcomed Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe March 5. The visit came on the one month anniversary of the record setting F-4 tornado that devastated large parts of the county.

Beebe was met by county and state officials along with relief volunteers for lunch just before traveling towards the Rose Trail area.

Beebe and his procession including Arkansas State Senator Paul Miller, Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence, Izard County Judge Rayburn Finley, Izard County Office of Emergency Services Manager Dennis Williams and others toured the damage from Rose Trail to Lunenburg, and then to Zion. Beebe stopped to visit with victims and listen to their concerns.

Beebe offered condolences and said he would gather resources from the state and federal level to help with the relief for victims and their families.

"We have a number of organizations that aid and assist people who are homeless and people who are down and out ... We have people here, not just from Arkansas but from California to Missouri helping out. If we have more then we need to take care of our own people, then we will help people in other states as well. We can utilize these assets in a wonderful way," Beebe said.

According to Beebe he did a fly-over of the affected areas soon after the twister hit early last month. "The truth of the matter is, they don't need my help cleaning stuff up; they certainly don't need my help in the kitchen feeding the volunteers," Beebe said.

"What they do need is to know that the state of Arkansas cares. They need to know that the agencies charged with providing help are serious about doing exactly that and they need to know it from the top," he said.

"So, part of my job is to let people in the affected areas know all 2.8 million Arkansans really do care. It is important that I be in as many places as I can possibly be. One of the things I was very pleased with, the federal government responded to our request very quickly. Unlike Dumas where they waited 13 or 14 days and then turned us down. This time FEMA, the president, the federal government, were much more responsive," Beebe said.

"We really welcome Mike here and the people are really appreciative of him coming up here," Izard County Judge Rayburn Finley said.

The residents of Izard County said goodbye to the Izard County Disaster Center March 7 but cleanup and reconstruction will continue for quite some time.

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