By Chris Kieffer
Barbara Hutson remembers the emotions many in Lee and Itawamba counties are feeling right now.
Three years ago, the Wren resident suffered significant damage to her home from an EF-5 tornado. She said things began to settle down for her on the third day after the destructive twister. She used the Easter analogy of Jesus rising from the dead on the third day.
“The main thing is to know you are going to be OK,” Hutson said this week, offering advice for those beginning their own recoveries from tornado damage.
“…By the third day, you’ll start to get a grasp on where you need to go and what you need to do. The first couple of days, you are still in shock and you are looking at your house that is a pile of rubble or is leaking. By the third day, you get over the shock and begin putting your house back together. Know God is with you and will help you get back together.”
Hutson was living in a large double-wide trailer when the tornado hit Wren and Smithville on April 27, 2011. It twisted off her back door and separated the structure on one end.
Things did not begin to feel normal, she said, for about three to six months. That’s often how long it takes to re-establish a household or start a new one, she said.
Hutson also offered the following tips:
• Go through all of your monthly bills. If you call your Internet and TV providers, they may be able to put a hold on your account for several months.
• For any loans you may have, call the institution and ask if you can defer payment for a month.
• If documents were blown away during the storm, you may need to change your banking information to prevent identity theft.
• Document everything you do. Take photos and keep a notebook in which you record phone calls – the date, time, whom you spoke to and what was asked. “Documentation is the main thing,” she said.
• If you lost birth certificates, you can go online and reorder them from Mississippi Vital Records. You also can go to the courthouse to request a copy of marriage licenses or to the Social Security Office to get new cards. You will often need those documents to get assistance, so they should be replaced quickly.