CAIRO — U.S. Rep Sanford Bishop pledged the federal government’s help as Cairo rebuilds from Sunday night’s tornado.

Bishop, the 2nd District congressman whose area includes Grady County, toured the devastated neighborhoods with Cairo and Grady County officials Saturday morning. 

“We want you to know that whatever resources we can make available, we’re here for you,” Bishop said to a gathering of officials and first responders.

Grady EMA Director Richard Phillips said 129 homes and 38 buildings were damaged. Fourteen homes and three businesses were demolished. 

Local officials are sending a damage tally to Washington, D.C., to see if the threshold for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance is met.

Roads are open, Phillips said, and as of Saturday morning, 120 homes were without power.

“It’s probably going to be a little while before they get power back up.,” he said. “But they are working diligently on that.”

A Red Cross shelter was closed Friday afternoon but Red Cross staff will be in Cairo through Tuesday. State Department of Transportation crews also have had their stays in Cairo extended into next week.

Crews have removed 800 tons of debris to the landfill, Phillips said.

During his tour of the storm-ravaged area, Bishop greeted Wynette Holmes on her home’s front porch, Holmes has lived in her house for 45 years but the damage to the structure is just too great and it will have to be torn down. The tornado, she said, picked her house off its pillars and set it back down.

“The floor is like a trampoline,” she said. 

Bishop’s own home was not immune from Sunday’s line of storms that swept through Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Around 4 p.m., a tree fell in his yard, crashing through the roof and the ceiling and breaking the headboard on his bed while he was in the next room.

“So I feel you,” he said. “We’re recovering with everybody else.”

Phillips and Grady County Commissioner LaFaye Copeland also noted the amount of help the community received from neighboring cities and counties, and how people in Cairo are helping their own. Copeland said what is needed most now are cleanup supplies.

“The community poured out and helped their neighbors,” Phillips said. "Our surrounding counties called us and offered all kinds of resources and help.” 

Said Bishop: “In times like this is when we see the best of what human nature has to offer, even when we are facing the worst of what nature has to offer.”

Phiillips said the community is still recovering from Hurricane Michael’s wrath last fall.

“We were fortunate there were resources close because of (Hurricane) Michael.,” he said. “There were a bunch of tarps on house from Michael. And now we’ve got this. 

“We got hit hard in Cairo and Grady County the last few months. But we are going to survive.”

See Tuesday’s Times-Enterprise and return to for more.

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