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Response to storm shows community's true character

By By Freda Cruse Phillips CONTRIBUTING WRITER

This article was published September 21, 2008 at 5:31 a.m.

— The Golden Rule was lived out last week as Stone County saw the year's sixth devastating act of nature.

Keith Jessen, who singlehandedly operated the area's lone Entergy truck, navigated the brush and removed debris to restore power lines taken out by trees that were blown down by what was left of Hurricane Ike. David Long, a county road supervisor, operated a bulldozer to help remove the fallen tree that had downed the power lines along Happy Hollow Road that Keith worked steadily to repair. In dawn's early light on Sept. 14, Jamie Barnes cut the tree out of the way so that residents could negotiate the road to their homes and church.

Barnes found the drive totown littered with downed trees and power lines. Entergy crews were strained in the wake of sending the majority of workers to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in Texas.

Members of the newly forming Ozark Heritage Bank in Mountain View set about eliciting the help of Rick Willis and the town's newest eatery, the Wing Shack, to start preparing food. As of noon that Sunday, they had served more than 500 free hamburgers and hot dogs with no end in sight. Ric Wilcox of State Farm insurance maintained one grill as Mark Willis manned a second. People of all economic means were equally affected by the power outage and were grateful for the immediate assistance.

Closed to the public, with only bare bones staff on hand toload frozen foods into refrigerated trucks, Wal-Mart employees walked over to the Wing Shack for food. One of the employees reported that they sent their last generator to Texas to aid the recovery efforts there.

Melanie and Darrell Broome of Mountain View, owners of the Ice Shack, provided two free bags of ice to anyone in need.

Wilson's Town and Country, a locally owned and operated independent grocery, was the only place in town where gas and food supplies could be bought. With pumps powered by a generator, the vehicles waited in line a half a mile down South Bayou Drive. Jerry Wilson, owner and operator of Wilson's Town and Country, assisted David King of Mountain View and Bobby Tucker of Newnata with fillinggas cans. Pam Wilson worked with staff inside the store to assist people.

With two record-breaking snowstorms, two devastating floods, a tornado that left much of the city in rubble and nowthe remnants of a hurricane causing power outages, the residents of Mountain View have learned in 2008 that they can't count on Mother Nature.

What they can count on is each other.

Three Rivers, Pages 117 on 09/21/2008

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