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Area residents help Columbus recover

By Staff
TORNADO ASSISTANCE Jodee Jordan of WOKK radio, left, and WOKK General Manager Doug Amacker collect donations for tornado victims Tuesday at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Station employees are spearheading a drive to collect emergency supplies for victims of Sunday's tornadoes, and plan to deliver them Thursday in Columbus. For information, call the radio station at 693-2661. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 13, 2002
Two Lauderdale County teen-agers boxed clothes and toys they could spare and brought them to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter on Tuesday to help children in Columbus who lost everything.
Andrew Walters, 15, and Brittany Gressett, 12, neighbors and students at Northeast Middle School, learned about the Sunday night killer tornado from their parents.
The two also learned that radio station WOKK 97.1 FM is trying to help the storm victims.
On-air personality Jodee Jordan, better known as "Big Joe," began remote broadcasts from the Wal-Mart parking lot Tuesday and will continue until 7 p.m. today.
Jordan and the station are collecting bottled water, canned food, clothes, toiletries and toys for children all to assist recovery efforts in Columbus. And the two teens wanted to participate.
Added Walters: "We wanted to help people out who have been through bad things."
Deadly storm
Strong storms that traveled through the state Sunday night sparked at least one tornado that ripped through parts of Columbus and Lowndes County, destroying or damaging hundreds of homes.
The storms left one person dead and more than 50 injured. Damage also was reported to several public buildings in Columbus, including the campus of Mississippi University for Women.
Jordan stays in close contact with the Salvation Army, one of several groups helping the Columbus and Lowndes County area.
Jordan was on the air Sunday night when the bad weather hit. He knew the storms were serious; as soon as the tornado struck, he began thinking of ways to help the victims.
Local help
Becky Shirley of Meridian contributed a gallon of water Tuesday afternoon to the WOKK broadcasting truck's growing pile of items.
Diana Trettin of Butler, Ala., responded to the call for assistance when she heard Jordan on her car radio.