• Philip Burn

Salvation Army Volunteers Serving Neighbors in Need After South Texas Tornado

Dallas, TX (May 13, 2023) – Emergency Disaster Services volunteers from The Salvation Army Port Isabel Service Unit and McAllen Corps are providing support after a tornado touched down in Laguna Heights, Texas at 4 AM on Saturday morning.

Port Isabel Police Chief Robert Lopez confirmed that one person died, in addition to multiple reports of injuries and property damage after the powerful early morning storm. State Highway 100 is closed both ways between Laguna Heights and South Padre Island while work crews clear debris from the road.

Volunteers from the Port Isabel Service Unit, directed by Julie Gaucin, The Salvation Army Service Extension Regional Coordinator, responded immediately in the affected area. The McAllen Salvation Army, located a little more than an hour away, prepared 500 meals to be served today and a 10-person team has deployed to serve at the temporary shelter established at the Port Isabel Events Center. The volunteers will be providing meals, hydration, and emotional and spiritual care to those impacted in the community as well as first responders.

“Once we received word about the tornado and the damage in and around our community, we were able to mobilize the volunteer team very quickly,” said Gaucin. “I have been involved in many Salvation Army disaster response efforts, but this is the first time I have been called to help in my own community. My family lives only a couple of miles from where the tornado touched down and my mother’s home sustained some roof damage in the storm. Our team is ready to serve the needs of our friends and neighbors and do all that we can to help.”

Working with local city and emergency management, The Salvation Army will continue to assess the damage and serve as needed in and around Laguna Heights.

“There is already more than 70 people here at the shelter and The Salvation Army is providing lunch, drinks, and snacks and will be here all day to listen to and pray with those affected,” said Gaucin. “I have received lots of calls from people asking how they can help. Right now, the best was to help those affected is to make a financial donation at helpsalvationarmy.org to support our efforts, and to pray, of course.”

For the latest disaster response information, go to www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org