ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) — It’s been exactly two months Saturday that an EF-2 tornado tore through the City of Elgin with winds of 130 miles per hour.
Three were injured, according to the National Weather Service, but thankfully, no one was killed.
While some survivors are still facing roadblocks to recovery, their community is pitching in to help.
The Cielenckis had rubble strewn across their property, mangled roofs, and torn fences when KXAN’s Tahera Rahman visited back in March.
When she went back to visit on Saturday, Cielenckis were still waiting on parts so their cars can be fixed. Their garage roof is still mangled, and there are still board patching up parts of their exterior walls.
They and their neighbor, Susan Carlson, say it’s hard to find workers for projects and supplies for fixes and builds. They’re also footing some bills while hoping insurance covers others.
“You just have to decide what you want to put part of that money on and what you need to pull out of your pocket,” said Davina.
“Triaging the fixing,” Carlson adds.
“Trying to figure all this day in and day out– does it sometimes feel like you’re stuck?” asked KXAN’s Tahera Rahman.
“Exactly. That is a perfect word for it. Because we’re sitting here,” Carlson said. “We’ve got our horses out there that don’t have a place to get out of the [sun]. And we’ve got a chicken that laid eggs and has chicks underneath a part of the door that was blown off in the yard. So I mean, it’s the small things that are frustrating.”
Local business owner Wes Callais knows what that feels like– he’s survived two hurricanes.
“It’s long, OK. Nothing happens overnight,” said Callais, who owns Gumbeaux Man.
That’s why he set up the Rebuilding Elgin Festival on Saturday.
“I felt like I had the… mindset and the skills and knowledge to help them out, and be proactive versus reactive,” Callais said.
Proceeds from his crawfish sales, and the donated barbecue and raffle prizes all go to the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team.
Meg Lauren came out from Austin to play music for the event.
“I’ve also seen the devastation on the news and just wanted to be a part of something that was going to help this community,” she said.
These neighbors are grateful for the continued support– especially for others who they say don’t have insurance or money to pay for upfront costs.
“We’re having to move money around in order to pay for some things and then hopefully the insurance will pay us back and things of that sort. So it’s just slow, very slow,” Carlson said. “There are people worse off than us, though. So we really can’t complain too much.”
Even if, after all the fixes, they know some things they just can’t get back.
“That was something that was ours and it’s something that’s gone or destroyed,” said Davina as she wiped away tears. “It’s hard to put a price on some of that stuff that’s gone.”
Sheila Lowe, the executive director of Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team, told KXAN they are “working with a little over 30 families that suffered anywhere from debris management to rebuilds.”
Around $50,000 has been raised through the City of Elgin’s $25,000 along with fundraising events and online donations, Lowe said.
Lowe said “the county’s earmarked $280K [which] will put [the team] over $300K and allow for at least 5 rebuilds hopefully several repair projects.”