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Tornado relief spotlighted at JCBA luncheon
07/18/2013 - By John Austin/features@trcle.com - Cleburne Times Review
Some of the people driving nails and fixing roofs across tornado-damaged Johnson County took a few minutes on Wednesday to thank everyone who’s making the comeback possible.

“It was just amazing to me see how the people of Cleburne came together,” Johnson County Builders Association President Darrell Hightower said at the organization’s lunch meeting at the Cleburne Conference Center. “I’m real happy to see the way that happened.”

Hightower praised the businesses that donated to the effort, and singled out a couple that donated merchandise to the Randy Rogers Band Concert for Cleburne on Friday. The show generated what will probably total close to $80,000 to tornado relief.

“It was a fantastic concert,” said Cathy Marchel, Cleburne Chamber of Commerce president. “They did not charge anything.”

Because everything but the lights and stage rental was donated, there were minimal administrative expenses, and about 2,800 tickets sold, Marchel said.

“All the money that we’ve spent has been spent in Cleburne,” Marchel said. “We’re keeping our money local.”

Hightower noted that while some residents have joked that the toll road slated to open next year will be “the fastest road out of Cleburne,” he wants to make it the quickest road to Cleburne.

“[Texas] 121 is a road to opportunity for Cleburne,” Marchel said.

But for everyone to get up and running, rebuilding from the May 15 tornado has to continue, the speakers said.

Members of the Christmas in Action organization also discussed their ongoing efforts to help repair homes for the elderly and disabled in Johnson County.

To help, volunteers can call 817-641-8610. All ages are welcome, and they’ll supply the tools.

As for the pressing needs to help people who lost housing and possessions in the tornado, Marchel said the combined efforts of the builders association, the chamber, local churches and volunteers, in and out of Cleburne and the county, have been overwhelming.

“The builders association set up an account, which has been really a miracle. I think right now we’re at 64 families that we’re assisting. There’s a lot of unsung heroes in this room,” she said. “I’m very proud to be a Cleburne person.”
On the web: CleburneTimesReview.com

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