The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

St. Anne mobilizes members for cleanup after the storm

Church, Knights hall narrowly escape tornado but limbs and debris pile high in area

Published: April 19, 2023   
Malea Hargett
Paula Draeger, a member of St. Anne Church in North Little Rock, and Elijah Olberts, a ninth grader at Catholic High School and member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock, haul limbs April 8 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in North Little Rock.

The Knights of Columbus are known for raising money and volunteering to better their parishes and cities. When the Knights at St. Anne Church in North Little Rock needed help clearing tree limbs at its hall after the March 31 tornado, parishioners and friends didn’t hesitate to help.

On Holy Saturday, April 8 about 20 people showed up at St. Anne ready to work. Guillermo Bruzatori, the parish Hispanic ministry director, divided the group up to work at the Knights of Columbus Hall nearby and two parishioners’ homes.

“My keywords are appreciative and community-minded, and give-and-take,” said Julian Calzada, Knights of Columbus grand knight. “We love to give to the community, and we appreciate immensely the response we got in helping clean up our property.”

Parishioners and friends hauled smaller limbs to Camp Robinson Road for the city to pick up. Shingles and pieces of plastic siding from the apartment complex next door littered the property too and needed to be hauled away.

The hall wasn’t damaged, but a small storage building did receive minor damage.

While families were cleaning up properties, several St. Anne parishioners gathered at 8 a.m. to cook tacos and sell them to raise money for those in need.

It took less than an hour for several parishioners to clean the front yard of Barbara Kearney, a St. Anne member. Her brick home, garage and car were damaged when a tree fell during the tornado. She hasn’t had power in her home so she sits in her car to charge her smartphone and walks to her daughter’s house that backs up to her home to use her gas cook stove for preparing meals. At night, she gets around her house with battery-operated lanterns and flashlights.

When the TV weatherman announced the tornado crossed over the Arkansas River into Burns Park that afternoon, she knew to be prepared.

“I grabbed my kitty cat, the oldest one. I couldn’t find the other two,” she said. “I got in the closet, and as it was going over, I could hear the roar and kind of crunching sound. It was an unbelievable sound. I was on the phone with my daughter.” 

Eight days after the tornado, the retiree said she doesn’t feel comfortable yet leaving her home to see tornado damage beyond her street.

“I haven’t been anywhere looking because I couldn’t handle it. But I’ve seen pictures,” she said.

She said she appreciated those who stopped by to help and offer food.

“It’s humbling. I’m so grateful,” she said.

Bishop Taylor wants you to know more about your faith and the Church: Sign up for Arkansas Catholic's free digital edition.

Please read our Comments Policy before posting.

Article comments powered by Disqus