Local Woman Raising Money for Tornado Victims - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Local Woman Raising Money for Tornado Victims

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(KCEN) – Rebecca Zbranek felt like she was reliving a nightmare for the second time in three years. Sitting in her Temple home, she frantically tried to call her parents living in Vilonia, Arkansas as the deadly tornado ripped through the town.

Her parents house had been damaged in the 2011 tornado, and from the horrifying videos popping up on her TV screen… she didn’t know what to think about the massive twister hitting her mom’s hometown on April 27th.

“I was crying. My heart was pounding. I was like no, not my mom, not my dad. It’s all I could think about,” Rebecca said.

It wasn’t until the tornado had destroyed the small community, that her mom was able to call her. “Everything was shaking, rocking and we didn’t know if we were going to still be there or not,” her mother Donna Gallagher said.

As the dust settled, the devastation became clear. Nine people had died; including Jeffery Hunter a friend of Donna’s who spent his last moments telling his mother goodbye through a text message. Homes were leveled, businesses were destroyed, and the town wiped away.

Seeing the heartbreaking destruction and lives torn to pieces, Rebecca was on a mission to help rebuild the community. “They’re all running off donated resources, food, clothing and eventually it is going to run out. These people are going to need help getting back on their feet,” Rebecca said.

This week she created an online fundraiser through “GiveForward” under the title “Vilonia F5 Memorial Fund”. All the money donated will be given to the Vilonia Disaster Recovery Alliance, an organization that is made up of all the town’s churches. The money will then be dispersed directly to the victims that have been displaced or have lost loved one.

“I’m hoping this fund helps offset the burden,” she said. “If it’s not monetary I think words of encouragement for people who have lost so much can do wonders.”

Rebecca doesn’t have a specific monetary goal she is trying to reach; the goal she has is simple – supporting the people of Vilonia.

If you would like to donate, share your words of encouragement or share the memorial fund (click here).
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