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Fort Hays student rallies community to rebuild

4/30/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

A Fort Hays State University graduate student and native of Vilonia, Ark., is rallying the Hays community to help his town recover from a Sunday tornado.

Kerry Shannon said the roof on his family's Vilonia home was ripped off, and the shop behind the property was leveled. None of his family members were injured.

The FHSU student launched an effort to collect resources for his struggling hometown. Shannon posted a list on Facebook asking for water, canned food, diapers, powdered milk, baby formula, work gloves and other supplies to be donated. He will drive home today to bring the supplies and help the recovery process.

Shannon said he was in "disbelief" when he heard about the tornado.

"You kind of always hear tornados hitting other towns and other people's houses, but you never expect it to be your family that has to go through something like that," he said.

He said Anna Herl, an instructor at FHSU, has been a "tremendous" help because she posted on Facebook looking for donations.

"You can always make an impact wherever you are," Herl said. "It doesn't matter if you're nine hours away, and especially with social media today.

"We're able to make a difference by putting out messages and things like that to get people on board."