Conyers tornado: Church turns shelter as neighbors begin cleanup efforts

Devastation in Rockdale County after an EF-2 tornado touched down Tuesday evening, knocking down trees, power lines and damaging homes. 

"It's heart-wrenching to see all the people's houses tore up," said Mike Yoder, who is a member of the Conyers Methodist Church. 

The church has been set up as a shelter to help those whose homes and property were damaged by the twister. 

"A lot of houses in that area are damaged with the trees going straight through the houses," said Yoder. 

Yoder was state president of VOAD, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster. He has seen his share of disasters and knows many in Rockdale County are in dire need of help. 

"A lot of people are old people like me that don't have the resources to put it back together," said Yoder. 

The fierce wind that roared through overnight was strong enough to snap hundreds of trees and blow out windows. 

"The entire window, the window seal, the frame, everything had been blown out of the house," said Corey Hambrick. 


Crews were out most of the day Wednesday trying to restore power, as neighbors helped neighbors clean up. 

"Some of our friends, they're unable to get out today," said Roderick Ward. 

Throughout the evening, donations and supplies were dropped off at Conyers Methodist Church. The Red Cross had food, water and other necessities. Cots were set up for anyone who needed a warm place to sleep. 

Some much-needed assistance as a community tries to recover and figure out what's next. 

"We're just trying to get ourselves settled in now and maintain it," said Ward. 

Late Wednesday, the Red Cross was still doing damage assessment in the community. They say the shelter is staffed and will be open as long as necessary.