COLUMBIA — Preliminary damage assessment and clean-up continue in Fort Leonard Wood after an EF-3 tornado tore through the Ozarks on New Year's Eve.
Maj. Gen. David Quantock of the Fort Leonard Wood said in a press release that the "military personnel, civilians, leaders and volunteers within the surrounding community have worked together to make tremendous progress in a very short amount of time."
The tornado, which was one of several to touch down in the Midwest, caused very few injuries and no fatalities. According to the press release, only four minor injuries were reported, and those people were treated and released.
Quantock said soldiers being gone for holiday leave probably prevented further injuries or fatalities.
According to the press release, other factors that kept the injury count low include training, public service announcements on what to do in the event of a tornado, sirens and what the base calls the "giant voice," a postwide message broadcast through speakers.
"The priority is getting people back to some level of normalcy," Quantock said in the press release. "We're making sure that all those families that lost everything get their claims filed, so they can start to buy and restructure their lives."
Kelly Brownfield, facility manager at Fort Leonard Wood United Services Organization, said there are 50 families that have nothing and have to start from scratch and another 150 that lost a significant amount.
Donations are being collected at the the Fort Leonard Wood USO, Building 805, Iowa Avenue.
"We need anything and everything," Brownfield said. "From kitty litter boxes to shorts and pants, to diapers and dishes."