In the midst of the storm, it was the sound of helicopters and firefighters that set off a chain reaction of panic.
In the town of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, residents were forced to evacuate in order to avoid the threat of a tornado.
They were also told that a nearby power line was “high risk.”
But the fear was not just for residents; it was for the town’s entire city of 4,000.
“It was just the fear of a large power line,” said Kathy Taggart, a community activist in Horsethoe Bend.
“We were all in fear for our lives.”
Taggart is the director of Hensethoe Bail Bonds, a local nonprofit that provides low-income people with low-interest bank loans to buy their own homes.
For months, she has been organizing the community to organize in support of low-level debtors, like Taggard, who can’t afford to pay the mortgage on their homes.
“It’s not like they’re going to come and take your home, and then take it back,” Taggert said.
“The community wants the money.”
As Hurricane Irene approached, Taggarts community organizing campaign was underway.
Her organization had already secured $1.2 million in funds to help low- and moderate-income families who have to borrow money to pay their bills.
But they weren’t the only ones trying to make a difference in the town.
The city of Hinsethoe, Arkansas.
The day after the storm hit, the tornado that had destroyed the town, the city of Little Rock, Arkansas was hit by another tornado.
It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in the United States.
As of this writing, the death toll from the storm is unknown, but local news reports have listed the death count at more than 4,100.
The storm was also followed by a tornado that hit Horsetown, Arkansas on August 20.
The city was left without power for days, and was forced to shut down its water treatment plant.
Taggert says that after the power was restored, she began to see more and more people in Hinsetown calling to her for help.
The call went out for donations.
“I was trying to find people who had a lot of financial debt and I was calling, saying, ‘Hey, we need you guys,'” she said.
Terrifying timesTaggarts friends and family were left with little choice but to move to Little Rock.
They needed a place to live and needed the money to buy a house, Tager said.
She also had to find money to cover the costs of her daughter, who had to move into a new home in Little Rock after graduating from high school.
Tager and Taggarton were among the first residents of Hinesethoe to move in.
“People were really scared,” Tager told HuffPost.
“When the tornado hit, there were people who were just scared for their lives.”
When the storm came, Tagers neighbors were also terrified.
“At that point, we were like, ‘I need to get out of here,'” Taggarty recalled.
“And I had to get my family out.”
Taggers mother, Tanya, said that after Hurricane Irenee, her daughter asked her to go to a shelter, where she was placed with a group of homeless people who needed some shelter.
Tagart was so overwhelmed by the need for food and money that she went back to Hinesetown to get help.
But when she got back home, she said, “I couldn’t find anything.
I was just really stressed.”
Tags mother said she was shocked to learn that the tornado had caused so much damage to the town that it had to be demolished.
“There were tons of people in there,” Tagarty said.
After the storm had passed, Tagert was able to rebuild her house.
But she and her family are still not sure if they can return to Hinsets home.
Tagging the debtAs Taggers mother is able to return to the neighborhood, she is also trying to help other people affected by Hurricane Ireune.
“As far as I know, no one’s going to have to move,” Tagan told HuffPost, referring to the massive rebuilding efforts that have been underway to rebuild Hinseto.
“If you’re not able to move, we don’t know what you’re going, we just know that you need to stay in the community and get help.”
Tagan said that she’s been inundated with messages and offers of help, but she still doesn’t know if she’ll be able to leave Hinsotown.
“What I’m thinking about right now is what my daughter needs, and what I don’t need,” she said of her son, who has autism and is on medication to help manage his behavior