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Cookout honors tornado volunteers

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Updated: 5/23/2014 9:50 pm
ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTVA) -- When disaster strikes, people often find themselves in unimaginable situations.

Sometimes, help is hard to come by.

When Max Oliver arrived in Itawamba County just days after the tornado, he didn't know anyone.

He was just another big-hearted stranger.

"When we came to town here, we saw a need that wasn't being met," Oliver said.

Nearly a month later, he's hardly a stranger.

Across Itawamba County, countless volunteers have become part of the community.
So much so, they dread the day they'll say, "Goodbye."

"[It] feels like home," Oliver said. "We don't want to leave honestly."

Friday, Itawamba County leaders showed their appreciation for those selfless volunteers by hosting a cook-out.

"These have been some outstanding young people," Itawamba County resident Carl Dunlap said.

Some volunteers, like Nichole Letizia, just got to Itawamba County she already feels a connection with this community.

"It's a blessing in disguise," Letizia said. "Our team has had a great experience being here."

The cleanup here is far from finished.

It'll take years for these storm victims to fully get their lives back in order, but in a few days, many of these volunteers must leave.

It'll be a bitter-sweet farewell, and not just for the volunteers, but for the people of Itawamba County, too.
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