Sherwood Shores: Monday March 21, 2022, 5:45 p.m.

The weatherman was giving minute-by-minute updates where the storm was hitting in Texomaland. It was expected to hit Sherwood Shores at 6:12 pm. I was at Kristie Abbott’s house, my neighbor, near the highway, US Route 377, up on the hill. I live on the western edge of a valley further inside of the Sherwood Shores neighborhood.

I was watching the time and waiting for the storm to blow over. We heard no sirens. BAM! A tornado hit the ground at Sherwood Shores at 6:12 p.m. The tornado hopscotched through the little valley in Sherwood Shores. It rose up and disappeared in less than five minutes.

We did not know a tornado had hit us, but we immediately heard all the emergency vehicle sirens and traffic. My dog was at my house. Waya is a 120-pound wolfdog. Kristie and I had an ominous feeling. I cannot describe exactly what that felt like, but it was immediate and strong. We decided we had to go check on my house and my dog.

It was about 6:20 p.m. when we ventured out. We did not know what we were about to witness. I live about 1.75 miles from Kristie. I do not know where all the people came from. They did not live here. There are only three entrances into Sherwood Shores. The first responders did not block off the entrances.

People were pouring into Sherwood Shores. It took us almost an hour to get to my house. Sherwood Shores has a five-way intersection in the middle of the neighborhood. Grayson County sheriffs were trying to direct traffic. My street was the first to get hit, and then the tornado went further east deeper into the neighborhood valley.

As we got closer and closer, the ominous feeling deepened into my gut and got stronger and stronger. When we turned the corner where I could see my house, I took a deep breath, held my head up high, and felt I had better brace myself. I do not know when the shock set in.

Kristie: “Oh, Kendall, look at this.”

Kendall: “It’s OK. It’s OK. Where’s Waya?”

Kristie: “What are we going to do?”

Kendall: “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know; I can’t process this. Where’s Waya?”

We could barely get through my yard without getting injured to find Waya. She was lying in her bed, which was full of glass shards. She was in shock. We were in shock.

Kristie: “What are we going to do?”

Kendall: “I don’t know; I don’t know. Waya’s alive. I can’t think. We have to go back to your house so I can think. I don’t know what to do.”

We could not take Waya at that time, it was too dangerous. When we left, I’ll never forget the terrible look on Waya’s face. I had to leave her to get my bearings. We went back to Kristie’s house, and I sat down and let the graveness wash over me. I don’t remember how long I sat there or what I was thinking.

We had to go back and get Waya. It was that feeling of overwhelming emptiness and loss and your heart will not quit pounding, and it emanates from your gut and spreads throughout your whole body. And I was shaking so badly. I did not cry; I still have not. Finally, we slowly got up and walked to Kristie’s car to go get Waya.

“Where did all these trucks and cars come from? Why would these people come here to sight see when we do not know if anyone is killed or injured? Why would people do this to us in a dire emergency? Why can’t I get to my dog? Who needs help? Why are these people here? Who does that? Who is hurt? How are the ambulances going to get through?”

People poured into Sherwood Shores into the early morning hours. The sheriff’s did not block off the three entrances into Sherwood Shores. This time, it took another hour to get to my house. We had to clear our way to my doorway. Waya’s back legs are going out. Thank God! I had made some hamburgers. I had to get a hamburger to lead Waya into Kristie’s car as she struggled to climb in. I do not remember the ride back.

We knew we were alive; we knew we were safe; we knew Waya was safe. The media flew in like turkey vultures on a carcass. I slept on the back porch with Waya Monday night. I had a roof. I live one lot away from a corner. The house on the corner from my house was lying in rubble in a million pieces. My neighbor’s roof across the street from me was in my yard along with other people’s roofs.

Kristie and I went back to her house and stayed out of the way. We were in shock. The phone calls started coming in with everyone checking on everyone. On Tuesday, I went to look at my house. The sheriff’s were directing traffic, and people were still pouring into the neighborhood. I had to give the deputy my address to get through the five-way. I thought, “Why don’t they block off the entrances?”

My house and camper were still standing. My front door was gone. My windows and fence were gone. My camper’s windows were blown out. My friend, Duane Dotson, was staying with his family in Woodbine. I decided to drive by his property so I could call him and tell him what his property looked like.

That’s when I saw the unbelievable devastation. One of the biggest trees was laying in his yard. Half of his roof was gone. Houses were lying all torn apart. The sheriff’s were arresting looters. My house is wide open. Anyone can walk right in, and they still can. I do not have a livable house.

I do not remember loading up my computers and electronics when we went to get Waya, but I did. I could not go to my house without immediately shaking. I was not able to eat until Thursday. I was throwing up. I still shake when I go to my house. The Sherwood Shores Baptist Church sprang into action and became a command center.

Wednesday night, I called a strong man to come and get me. I told him I needed his strength because I felt so little bitty. He did, and I got a respite from the total destruction and my own head and heart for a night. That was the only day last week that I felt OK. He was so kind to me. I gathered my strength and was able to make it through the next few days.

I have not gone driving around, and as I finish writing this article, I am going to go look at all the damage. I will stop by the church and get a hot meal before I come back and finish writing. I did not want to do what all those people did at 6:17 p.m., March 21, and continued to do all last week. I did not want to intrude on my neighbor’s tragedies. I am one of the God blessed ones here.

Tornado sculptures decorate the trees around Sherwood Shores. The Grayson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is occupying the Sherwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department (SSVFD) with food, water, and household supplies. This is where people need to go to fill out a local assistance and damage report. The SSVFD is on Hillcrest, the main entrance into Sherwood Shores about a quarter of mile into the neighborhood. 

FEMA was here on Tuesday, March 29, but they have not declared Sherwood Shores yet. Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 16 Texas counties after 20 tornadoes ripped through Texas. Grayson and Cooke Counties are included. Registering with OEM is the first step to get help from FEMA. The next step is to go to the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s website.

Texans need to report damage to homes and businesses using the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) damage survey. It is very important for people to fill out a damage report, which will go towards getting a declaration from FEMA. It is a very short and simple form to fill out, and they want pictures of the damage. It takes about five minutes to fill out at this link:

The Disaster Relief Ministry of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is commandeering a relief station at the Sherwood Shores Baptist Church. The church has been serving hot lunches and dinners every day, and folks can eat at the church or take it to go. People can drop off their laundry at the church, and they will get it back folded neatly.

The Sherwood Shores Baptist Church also distributes food, clothes, household supplies, tarps, ropes, and just about anything someone might need. If they don’t have what folks need, they will try to get it in. Our neighborhood is so appreciative of the outpouring of supplies, emotional support, and two hot meals a day. The women there are sure some good cooks! I do not have anywhere to cook, and Waya and I are refugees.

We do not know if FEMA will declare any of our counties. Drones were flying all over our skies last week. We are praying for some relief from FEMA, as I am sure the people in all the affected Oklahoma and Texas counties are. I really do not want to go into the personal stories that I have heard from my neighbors. I know how I felt when the media wanted to put my house on the evening news.

Even though I asked the media not to take pictures of my house last Tuesday when they were setting up a video team on my corner, they came back later when I was not home, and last night, March 29th, my house was on the local evening news. Neighbors called me and told me. The media’s disrespect for my privacy hurt me deeply.

I do not know why that one thing with the media pained me so badly when so many people are so much worse off than I am, but it did. It felt like a slap in the face. I am 63 years old, and this is my fourth tornado on the ground, but by far, the worst one I have been through. We said prayers while watching the weather before the tornado hit, and we have been praying every since. Prayers, devastation, prayers, and recovery.

From the National Weather Service Website:

On Tuesday, survey crews with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth confirmed the tornado that tore through Sherwood Shores in northwest Grayson County was an EF-2 tornado with maximum winds of 130 mph. The twister killed a 73-year-old woman and injured 11 others. Robert Flaa, who rode out the storm in his RV as his 17,000-pound storage container tumbled down the street, told NBC 5 that he was protected by Jesus.

At 6:12 p.m., an EF-2 with max winds of 130 mph caused significant damage to the Sherwood Shores community and resulted in 11 injuries and the death of a 73-year-old woman. The tornado flipped multiple manufactured homes and snapped trees in half. A total of 105 structures were damaged, 53 destroyed and 27 sustained major damage. This tornado continued into Oklahoma. The tornado tracked about 2.4 miles with a width of 150 yards and lasted for about four minutes before dissipating.

Thank you for listening to our experience. My objective in telling this story was only to give people a firsthand look at a personal experience with a natural disaster without folks seeing us as victims and survivors. The word victimhood is way overused these days. We are all, in any natural disaster anywhere in the world at any time, just hard working folks who want to recover.

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GOOD. Water stained; 65 degrees; 0.58 feet below pool. Striped bass are fair with the bite hit-or-miss. The bite can be tougher while the fish start to spawn. Fish in 15-30 feet of water on structure or out in open water with Alabama rigs or swimbaits. Report by John Blasingame, Adventure Texoma Outdoors. Striped bass are good on live bait drifting flats in 30-50 feet of water. A few warmer weeks and the stripers will go spawn. A lot of smaller fish on humps in 25-30 feet of water fishing live bait. Crappie are fair on brush in 8-10 feet of water fishing jigs but the minnow bite will turn on in the creeks soon. Catfish are slow anchoring with cut shad in 5-15 feet of water near the rivers. Warmer weather ahead will have them feeding before the spawn. Report by Jacob Orr Lake Texoma Guaranteed Guide Service.

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