ROWLETT -- Carnell Brown of Rowlett recalls December 26 all too well, "I mean how can you ever really truly be ready for something like that?"
Yeah, the stormy night after Christmas was a scary one in North Texas. NTTA's traffic cameras in Garland captured the violent storm on video as it knocked out power, and an EF-4 tornado tore across I-30 and the Bush Turnpike.
The storms in Garland and Rowlett left 11 dead, and neighborhoods torn apart. Recovery won't be quick or easy. The American Red Cross reports about 1,100 families that aren't able to live in their homes anymore.
"This is more than just my guests that were impacted," says Brown, who manages the Chili's in Rowlett. "These are my neighbors, these are my friends -- it's family. Rowlett has always been a super close community. I feel like it's actually brought us closer."
Brown's restaurant is just three miles from the worst of the storm...
"We're here to support each other," he said. He's certainly been part of those supportive efforts. "We have provided 1,150 meals, so far. It's a very humbling experience because you never realize. Hey, one day you have this, and the next day everything is gone."
Chili's is giving 15% of all sales Wednesday at locations throughout Texas and Oklahoma to the Red Cross. And the chain's not the only company helping folks help each other.
The Red Cross will also be getting 10% from Texas Roadhouse on Wednesday, and 10% of sales at Studio Movie Grills on Thursday.
Papa John's Pizza is giving a whopping 25% of its Wednesday sales to the Salvation Army.
Hey, you know what they say -- it takes a village.
"The village is stepping up," said Kimberly Johnson from the Red Cross. "But the really important thing is to realize that these folks are gonna need help on a long-term basis."
Yeah, the twisters may have gone as quickly as they came, but it's gonna take more than time to repair the damage they left behind.