Rowlett, Texas, is prone to tornadoes, but the one that tore its way through the Dallas suburb in December 2015 was the largest ever recorded in the area. With 10 fatalities and 468 injured, the people of Rowlett needed all the help they could get.
Minuteman Disaster Response volunteer Mark Montgomery arrived at the scene at about 8 p.m., only two hours after the rotating winds wrecked most structures in its path.
The next day, the temperature dropped 40 to 50 degrees, but they pressed on, distributing bottled water and food supplies to the displaced and helping police evacuate an area in danger of flooding due to a damaged water tower.
“It was gut-wrenching,” Montgomery said. “Roofs were blown off; new constructions were flattened. We couldn't even get to some of the parts that were most damaged because there were cars and debris blocking the roads.”
“Most haunting of all,” he said, “was the deafening sound of house alarms, breaking the silence like a cry for help.”