JACKSBORO, Texas — It's been six weeks since the EF-3 tornado tore through Jacksboro, Texas. About 90 homes were destroyed, and approximately 240 homes were impacted by the storm. Jacksboro Elementary and High Schools were both damaged too.
On March 21, Michael Qualls, the elementary school principal, rushed students and parents to the hallways that were built as storm shelters. Surveillance video shows him running down the hall, barely escaping the roof collapse.
"Guardian angels watching over all of us. It's a miracle," said Qualls.
Without a scratch, he and more than 400 people in the elementary school were unharmed. Since then, he and his staff have been looking forward. The students are back on campus. The destroyed gym is demolished, and will be rebuilt in the coming months.
"If you continue to look behind and continue to question yourself, that's not healthy," said Qualls.
He is getting his students and staff back into routine.
The tornado was the worst storm in the history of Jacksboro. According to Police Chief Scott Haynes, the city will likely not meet the threshold to get federal assistance from FEMA.
"It's a lengthy process, and you know, I'll be honest with you. We need monetary donations, and we have donations set up at Jacksboro National Bank," said Chief Haynes.
The fund is set up for residents who need help during this period of recovery.
Chief Haynes said the city is being proactive and not waiting around for government funding. Crews can be seen around the city fixing homes.
The city animal shelter was also destroyed during the storm. He said the city of Jacksboro is accepting monetary donations to fix that building too.
Both Haynes and Qualls say they learned from the March tornado. And these are lessons they will take as they move ahead and help their community rebuild and prepare for future weather events.