A church is nearing completion with reconstruction after a tornado

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TRUMANN, Ark. (KAIT) – The East Side Baptist Church in Trumann is nearly ready to reopen after tornado damage.

On December 10, 2021, an EF-2 tornado struck Trumann and the East Side Baptist Church was on its way to destruction from the tornado.

The tornado left the church with over $400,000 in damage.

“The left side of the church hit it pretty hard and there was some roof damage, but we also had more rain and water damage after the tornado,” Deacon Kenny Gunter said.

The reconstruction itself also came with its own problems.

“We are encountering some of the same things from before the tornado. With all of COVID and all of the supply issue,” Gunter said.

Gunter said rebuilding was expected to last until May, but those issues pushed back rebuilding and forced the church to compromise. Pastor Will Harold said the church needed to postpone some of the reconstruction projects to open the church earlier.

“Some things we’re not able to do, some things we do. We stick to things that are prioritized because of that because finances are an issue,” Harrold said.

Throughout the process, devotees met in different places, but they did their best not to forget their roots.

“We have organized several events here at our ground, drive-through Easter baskets, distributed during the Easter period. We held a fall festival here recently,” Harold said.

The end of the rebuilding process is near and Pastor Harold is ready to open the doors and welcome back his community.

“The journey has been so long. See people go home. To see people from that community coming back to that church, I wouldn’t be able to explain how that would feel,” he said.

The church hopes to open its doors next month.

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