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SC communities begin cleanup after deadly tornadoes

Published: Nov. 17, 2011 at 10:49 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2011 at 10:49 PM EST
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YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) A field of debris is what Susan Clark came home to on Wednesday Night, but joy could be found beyond seeing the obvious.

She discovered her parents safe, but shaken.

Judy Farrell is Susan's mother.

"All you heard were trees falling and wood cracking, and walls falling," Farrell said.

From high tech social networking sites like facebook to the old standbys like the American Red Cross, people are continuing to pitch in.

Many the locals are rolling up their sleeves along Highway 324 to do the heavy lifting.

Gina Amato is with the American Red Cross, and said they came to support nearby residents.

"Out here its family and family takes care of their own. That's life here."

Along Highway 324 in York County, South Carolina, daylight delivered the compelling battle scars in disturbing detail after a deadly tornado ripped through the state.

With cars tossed like toys, and parts of wooden homes reduced to splinters, recovery is now an urgent priority.

David Neely came to his brothers home to lend a needed hand.

"My brother's wife, she's in the hospital," he said. "They had to cut her out of here last night. She was in the bathtub and a tree fell through the roof," Neely said.

The task of salvaging personal belongings brought its moments of reflective salvation.

Discovering personal keepsakes provided the encouragement that all was not lost.

Those searching through the Neely property found the family bible.

Piecing lives back together is a challenging personal task, and amid the destruction, public service agencies are assisting with offering shelter and assessing the damage.

John Hatfield is missing a window from the side of his home, but highway 324 will never be the same because three of the neighbors lost their lives.

Photo Gallery: Click here to view 65+ photos of the tornado damage

"We have a little hallway in the center of the house. We run straight to it. There's no windows. We stayed there it was quick," he said.

"It's a sad thing to see this close to home," Hatfield added.

Closer bonds can emerge between friends and neighbors during moments of sheer tragedy, and even those who have walked away with things that are tangible and things that can be saved have no shame in expressing their gratitude for loved ones.

That's the case with David Neely's sister-in-law Janet.

"She's gonna be alright, at least she's alive," she said.

According to the Cotton Howell heads York County Emergency Management office, the last time anyone died as a result of a tornado was back in 1926.

Relief agencies plan to assist local families throughout the weekend.

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