Neighbors helping neighbors with Camden Red Cross getting first time experience

CAMDEN (KATV) - Most residents inCamden finally have their power back after nearly a full weekend withoutelectricity due to the powerful storm that ripped through South Arkansas onThursday night.{} But devastation remainsin town, the reason the American Red Cross and Salvation Army say they arestaying put for now.

At the Red Cross command post set-upat Victory Church in Camden, relief crews were busy on Sunday packing meals upfor a joint effort of handing out hot food and necessities.

Heavy rains on Sunday didn't make thingsbetter for those with severe damage to their homes.{} Red Cross efforts suggest there are roughly50 homes with severe damage, including Camden-Fairview High School.

One lady was gracious for the help thetwo relief organizations were providing, but mentioned there were people ingreater need than herself.{}

She said, "there's a young family withchildren - they need tarps for their house."{}A man from the Red Cross said of course they had some tarps, the womanfollowing up by saying how urgent the problem was - "it's pouring in theirhouse."

For many the damage was too great tostay in their homes - with several homes split in two by trees and downed powerlines still everywhere.

"The Red Cross has tried to help anumber of them get rooms," said Betty Smith, volunteer with the Red Cross.{} "We had to send some of them out of town toget rooms because we had no power."

But many of the first responders inCamden were also first time responders.{}It was just in 2013 that Camden residents created their own Red Crosschapter - apparently just in the nick of time.

"We wasn't expecting a disaster forsure," remarked Smith.

Instead of watching training videos onhow to respond to catastrophe, Camden's first responders are getting first handexperience.

"There have been so many commentsabout how well things are working out, how hard people are working, how goodeverybody has been, how attentive," recalled Smith.{} "It's just brought us together in a way thatwe would have never thought."