Remembering regional Arkansas and Missouri victims of a multi-state tornado outbreak as recovery continues
People across Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri are remembering the regional victims of a deadly tornado outbreak that officials have said killed more than 80 people across 5 states.
Arkansas Victims: Golden Hembry & June Pennington
Funeral ceremonies will be held in Mississippi County this week for Golden Wes Hembry of Monette and June Ann Pennington of Leachville.
Hembry, 94, was at the Monette Manor Nursing Home and Pennington, 52, was at the Dollar General when both facilities were destroyed by a powerful tornado on late Friday - killing them both in the aftermath.
According to his obituary from Howard Funeral Services, Hembry was born in Mt. Vernon, Ark., but raised in Arbyrd, Mo. He spent most of his life in Leachville and Monette areas. Hembry was also a Korean War veteran with the U.S. Army and a retired farmer.
Pennington's obituary reads that she was an Osceola-native, but lived most of her life in Manilla and Leachville. She worked as the Assistant Manager of the Dollar General in Leachville. Pennington enjoyed spending her free time with her friends, family, children, and grandchildren.
Both ceremonies will be held at the Howard Funeral Service Chapel in Leachville. Hembry's service is scheduled for Wednesday, December 15. Visitation is at noon with the service scheduled for 2 P.M. He will also be buried with Military Honors in the Cardwell Cemetery.
Pennington's ceremony will be at 11 A.M. on Thursday, December 14 with visitation from 6-8 at the funeral home. She will be buried at the Manila Cemetery.
Southeast Missouri Victim: Annistyn Rackley
Annistyn Rackley was 9-year-old when she was killed by a tornado that hit her home in Pemiscot County Friday.
She was a third-grader attending Craruthersville Elementary School. Her Aunt, Sandra Hooker, told the Associate Press that Rackley loved swimming, dancing, and cheerleading.
Hooker said Rackley, her two younger sisters and their parents had sought shelter in a windowless bathroom in their home. The girls' mom showed they were in their "safe space" by texting Hooker a photo of the three in and next to the bathtub.
Hooker said that about 15 minutes later, a tornado splintered the home, carrying the family members dozens of yards through the air into a field.
Caruthersville Elementary Principle Misty Rhine posted a statement on the Caruthersville School District Facebook page on Monday. Rhine said that Annistyn's mother, Kindergarten teacher Meghan Rackly, and younger sister Ava were still in the hospital sustaining critical injuries. She urged students, faculty and staff to seek counseling as they cope with the tragedy.
Recovery and Volunteer Efforts Continue
The City of Jonesboro posted on Facebook that remaining nursing home survivors in Monette need water, clothing, and toiletries.
Anyone wishing to help can drop off items at Buffalo Island Central High School or call Monette City Treasurer Terry Thomas at 870-486-2000. Thomas also said that the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is at the Monette City Hall helping anyone who lost their job fill out applications. Also, food is being served for those displaced at the Black Oak Baptist Church.
Meanwhile, efforts are also underway in Trumann to help tornado victims. Officials there are asking restaurants that are able to donate food to contact the Trumann mayor's office at 870-483-5355 and ask for Terah Redmond.
A drop off point for food and other needed items are at the TRC Building at the Sports Complex, 16179 Pecan Grove Rd in Trumann (behind the Walmart).
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver also announced that the American Red Cross is using the Earl Bell Community Center in Jonesboro as an overflow refuge center for anyone displaced from the storms. The Red Cross is also having multiple blood drives throughout Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. More details can be found with this story.