VILONIA, Ark. -- In Arkansas, survivors are cleaning up what's left of hundreds of damaged homes, but there's also a volunteer effort underway to resurrect a local cemetery, the final resting place of so many loved ones.
Chainsaws cut through the usual peace and tranquility of the Oak Bowery Cemetery in Vilonia, Ark., a suburb of Little Rock.
The century-old property wasn't spared the tornado's fury. That made loved ones who saw the damage sick.
"I was devastated,” said caregiver Lee Kelley. It was just like I lost a friend because this is part of my life."
Three historical oaks were torn down in the storm. But the church, still standing with scars, was a comfort and even more of a blessing with complete strangers helping clean it all up.
"We just come across over here and seen it was just a disaster. And this being a church and a cemetery, we decided we wanted to lend a hand," said Jason Smith of Renew Community Church in Cabot.
"This is amazing. This is a really an answer prayer,” Kelley said.
The volunteers say clearing the cemetery is just as important as doing work in the neighborhood, because while the people aren’t living, they are still loved.
"We’ve already seen a couple people here today while we were working cutting the trees down coming out and checking the grave sites of their family,” Smith said. “So it is important to them to have this done.”
For those who consider this their loved ones' eternal homes, this kind of care and attention to repairing them is a kindness bringing peace back to those at rest.
The church says without the volunteers, it would've taken months to clean up as much as they have already.