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Mayflower community holds remembrance commemorating tornado anniversary

Mayflower community holds remembrance commemorating tornado anniversary
Mayflower community holds remembrance commemorating tornado anniversary
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Monday marks the first anniversary of the day an E-F4 tornado devastated homes and took the lives of residents in Vilonia, Mayflower and areas of Pulaski and White county.

Members of the Mayflower community gathered Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Mayflower to reflect on the past year.

Representative French Hill, local officials, Samaritan's Purse and the Patton Family spoke at the special service.

Kristen and Martin Patton lost their home in the storm. Kristen said Channel 7 News was the first notification she got of the storm.

"If my phone had not sounded the alarm and not gotten the call from Ned Perme we would have still be watching cartoons we would not be standing here today," Patton said.

Martin Patton said he still vividly remembers that night. "It was within seconds everything was gone. and we were laying in the yard broken, bloodied and covered in Mudd," Patton said. "Hearing peoples stories, listening to the tales. As someone said earlier it is a mystery that someone did not parish in that storm."

Virginia and Bill Ausbrooks also lost their home of more than 50 years.

"The roof had left and the big trees had come down right in front of the closet we were in. I had my cell phone, I had called 911 and told them we were blocked in," Bill Ausbrooks said.

The Patton family and the Ausbrooks family understand the severity of loss. Bill Ausbrooks told Channel 7 News he lost more than his home, more like his labor of love.

"I built that house in 56' and we hadn't moved I miss it. Everything on there I had built or touched I had worked on," Ausbrooks said. "I had to get her back in town. She was raised here. This has been here since 59'. We raised our four children in this church."

Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Mayflower, David Fox, told Channel 7 News everyone in the community has been affected in some way.

"When you see people hurting, when you see people's lives turned upside down, it's devastating, you feel that as a pastor, you feel that compassion and the struggle they are going through," Fox said.

Looking ahead to the future, participants of Sunday's service said the Mayflower community is praying and rebuilding their community one step at a time.

Click here to share with us where you were the night of the tornado.

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