SALADO, Texas (KXAN) — On Saturday, Governor Greg Abbott visited Salado for a briefing on recovery efforts after an EF-3 tornado tore through the area on Tuesday. The governor said that storm damaged 70 homes and three church buildings.

While no deaths have been reported, during a press conference on Wednesday morning Bell County Judge David Blackburn said 23 people were injured, and 12 went to the hospital as a result of that tornado. He said Wednesday afternoon at least one person had critical injuries.

“Thank you to all first responders and volunteer emergency personnel for stepping up swiftly to assist their fellow Texans in the wake of this tornado,” Gov. Abbott said. “As we enter a time of celebration for Easter Sunday, may we also celebrate the strength and resilience of the Lone Star State.”

When asked why it took the governor days to visit the town, Abbott pointed to his recent action along the state’s southern border.

“If you’ve been watching the news, I have been in the Rio Grande Valley in negotiations with regard to making sure that our border is going to be secure. I hammered out in negotiations with all of the governors of all the Mexican states that are adjacent to Texas. And that’s what I’ve been doing 24 hours a day, for the past few days,” Abbott said.

Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd began his remarks by thanking first responders and local leaders.

“The local response to this was the best I have seen, period, it doesn’t get better than this. And I want you to be sure you’re thinking, ‘those folks have been working for you around the clock nonstop since the time that this tornado touchdown,'” Chief Kidd said.

  • The First Cedar Valley Baptist Church off FM 2843 in Salado, Texas sustained tornado damage the afternoon of April 12, 2022 (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
  • Tornado damage in Cedar Valley Road and FM 2843. (KXAN Photo/Tahera Rahman)
  • Tornado damage along a stretch of FM 2843 right in between Florence and Salado (KXAN Viewer Photos)

Kidd said TDEM will be ready to assist local officials through the recovery process.

“We have a long way to go to recovery. The State of Texas will be here to support these local officials all the way through,” Kidd said.

Billy Borho, pastor of the Victory Baptist Church, said he will be holding Easter services Sunday, despite the destruction.

“Tomorrow morning we’re going to have service. The building is gone, but this church is stronger than it’s ever been. And I know that God will help us to build back even stronger than before,” Borho said.

“The volunteers and the faith-based communities are always the ones that show up after disaster response –they’re the first ones on the ground to help rebuild and recover — and the fact that we’re standing here on the sacred ground of this church, I cannot wait to see the services here for tomorrow. I cannot wait to see the number of people that are going to show up and help us rebuild,” Kidd added.