By Jack Gurner
PINE FLAT – The scent of pinesap was heavy in the air Monday morning along Hwy. 9W as cleanup continued from last Wednesday’s storm.
Dozens of houses were damaged or destroyed along that stretch of highway in Lafayette County and the network of county roads that crisscross the area just a few miles north of the Yalobusha County line.
After the tornado hit around 1:30 p.m., word reached the volunteers of the Yalobusha County Baptist Association Disaster Recov-ery Team, who were already at work removing a tree that had fallen on a house on Blackmur Drive in Water Valley. As soon as they finished they were on their way to Pine Flat.
“They were up here working before the rain stopped Wednesday,” said Gene Bramlett, Pastor of the Pine Flat United Methodist Church. “And they have been non-stop every morning before I can get here. I can’t tell you how many chainsaw chains they have worn out.”
Bramlett has become the coordinator for the relief and recovery effort and his church the staging area for the community. It is a position for which he has no formal training, but was forced into by the storm. “We don’t have what I would call a real action plan right now. I am trying to be very flexible with the resources we have at hand.”
He praised the Yalobusha volunteers for coming in and starting to work without waiting to be told where to go or what to do. “They were God sent to us and for that I thank them tremendously. They have made a wonderful contribution to the recovery of this area.”
The team members at Pine Flat Monday included: Jim Gholson, Tim Gholson, Bill Norris, Eddie Magee, Phillip Dickey, Charles Heath, Jerry Holt, Mike Edwards, and Billy Stark. One of the team was quick to add that it wasn’t necessary to put their names in the paper. They don’t do it for the publicity.
In addition to the help from the recovery team a generous donation was also received from Reedy Acres, according to Bramlett. “Yalobusha County has been very, very supportive of their brothers and sisters in Lafayette County,” he said.
Monday the team was working at the residence of Billy King, known as the Clockman, at 209 Hwy. 9W. King was lucky, he wasn’t injured and his home is still intact. But, he had a yard full of downed trees. By noon the volunteers had cut up and piled many of the pines for pickup. “When it comes to a tree they are like ants on sugar,” Bramlett commented.
“I can’t say enough nice things about those fellows. I will be blessing them for a long, long time. They are living examples of what it means to ‘love thy neighbor.’”
Our neighbors to the north in the Pine Flat community in Lafayette County need help getting back to normal after last week’s devastating tornado.
Pastor Gene Bramlett of the Pine Flat United Methodist Church said Friday that they could use all the help they can get for the clean up and recovery effort.
If you want to be of service, the church at CR 422 is being used as the staging area for volunteers. Bramlett said that signs were down in the area which is about a mile and a half south of the Hwy 7 and Hwy 9 split. He added that he hoped to prop up the road sign for the church so it could be seen.
His phone number is