Volunteers Help Relocate Tornado Damaged Elementary School

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RED OAK, Texas -- While some folks are looking for food and shelter, another group are looking for a place to have school. The storm ripped through Donald T. Shields Elementary School, leaving hundreds of students without a place to return next Tuesday.

That is... until volunteers stepped in.

“We had over 700 volunteers. There were lines of people with trailers and trucks. All of their desks were brought over, cleaned up,” Shelia Straughan, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at Red Oak ISD said. “We are currently painting all of the classrooms, we’re putting in new ceiling tiles, we’re hanging whiteboards.”

They’re bringing the elementary school to its temporary home -- the old Red Oak Jr. High School. It’s been empty for four years.

“That renovation was going to take a year, and instead, we’re doing it in about seven days,” Straughan said.

Matthew King attended here before the school closed its doors, and now he’s back, putting his back into it.

“You always hear this happen in other places, and then, you come home and see it happen in your city,” King said.  “I love helping.  Helping rebuild this, get it ready for them.”

You can’t get far with soggy school supplies. People from all over the state, including professional sports teams, have reached out to help.

“I’ve cried a lot today from all the stuff that’s coming in,” Donna Knight, Student and Family Services Coordinator said. "My heart is just, I can’t even describe how I feel right now with all the communities that have come to help Red Oak. We’re very blessed. God’s blessed us, we didn’t lose any staff or kids in this destruction. Buildings can be replaced, and we obviously can see that this is taking place right now.”

A fresh coat of paint, and a fresh new start.