Residents look for shelter after the storm, after severe weather hits Okeechobee County

Posted at 7:31 PM, Apr 06, 2017

Joyce Bond is counting her blessings tonight.  

With only a few of her possessions by her side at the Fort Drum Community Church in Okeechobee County, she knows things could have been much worse, as a possible tornado pounded the small rural county. 

“All of a sudden, glass and debris was flying all over and I put my arms up and rolled off my bed,” Joyce says.

Minutes felt like hours, as the storm passed outside.

“I started looking around and I couldn't believe it,” Joyce says. “All the windows in my house were broken out, but the roof was still on the house.”

For others, however, total devastation. 

The sheriff told us 17 homes, including Joyce’s, were damaged. 

Two were knocked completely off their foundation. 

“The most challenging part I would say is to make sure that we're meeting the needs of the clients,” says Sarah Ruwe with the local Red Cross.

The organization is providing food, shelter, and a helping hand. 

“Whatever else we can do, we can always lend that hope, that hug, and that reassurance that someone cares about what happened to these people,” Ruwe says.

Joyce is grateful for that help, and happy to be alive. 

“My animals are ok, I was ok, I still had the roof on. I'm just so thankful.”