Hand Up Network completes final project in Panola County after March tornadoes

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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) — Today, the Hand Up network began finishing its latest home repair project in the wake of this year’s spring storms.

They have worked with more than 60 uninsured families who suffered significant damage or total loss due to tornadoes that hit Cherokee, Rusk and Panola counties in 2021.

Total storm damage was ineligible to receive state or federal funds. The Hand Up Network worked with local organizations, state organizations and numerous volunteers to make these repairs.

“There’s a lot of attention right after it happens and there’s a lot of groups from national regions that will come and they’ll do a lot while the cameras are there. But as soon as the cameras go, it’s usually us,” said CEO Samuel Smith. “So in this case, because there was no federal or state designation, it was basically us going from group to group and donor to donor, just trying to find people to help us get the resources because if we didn’t, these families wouldn’t have any help or support.

In the event of a natural disaster, the Hand Up Network accompanies emergency management teams to help them organize the next steps.

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