Virginia Residents Begin Tornado Clean Up

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Half a dozen twisters hit southeastern Virginia, Monday, tearing up 25 miles worth of neighborhoods and shopping centers, and leaving more than 200 people hurt. The most powerful tornado touched down in Suffolk.

Tuesday's tornado left quite a bit of damage in its wake.

Operation Blessings Aids Relief Workers

Today officials are allowing only residents back into neighborhoods. But even on day one, Operation Blessing was on the ground and working hard.

Open Door Church lived up to its name, opening its doors to Operation Blessing. OB volunteers set up a food distribution center, working with local police, church volunteers, and even the Navy.

"Operation Blessing becomes a force mulitpier in effect," OB's President Bill Horan explained. "For example today, we had 15 guys who are U.S. Navy off a submarine that showed up as volunteers. We've got them all working hard right now."

The disaster also marks the first time Operation Blessing officially partnered with the American Red Cross.

At the request of the Red Cross, Operation Blessing focused initial efforts on providing food for police, firefighters, and other relief workers.

Horan said, "I mean people are working like dogs, crazy hours, sleeping in cars or on church pew. They've got to eat, too, so we think feeding the first responders is pretty critical. 

OB to Lend a Hand to Residents

And soon, Operation Blessing will start working one on one with the people who live here.

"It sounded like a train coming through my house. I mean it was the loudest noise. I was just shaking.when I finally got out of the closet.the glass was shattered in my car and there was trees down everywhere," tornado survivor Shirley Riddick said.

So while they continue to feed relief workers, Operation Blessing is also mobilizing heavy equipment and clean up crews.

As some look at the tornados as an incredible force of nature, many say they see the power of God.

Chuck Penn of Dominion Virginia Power said, "The reality of what devastation has taken place here, and the fact that by God's grace no one perished is a miracle. So maybe we need to get some of our atheist brothers and sisters out here and take a look at this and maybe they'll become believers.

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