Mr. Cordell Smith:
Story submitted May 29th, 2007
I was 16 years old and was crossing the Current River bridge at Van Buren when the sky , all of a sudden, seemed full of everything,limbs, leaves, and just debris of all kinds. I turned my jeep around on the bridge and headed home which was about four blocks, very scary. My father, Luin Smith and I watched from our cellar door as the storm jerked a huge Mulberry tree away from the back of our house. When the storm had passed we heard Fremont had been blown away. We owned the telephone company and knew we needed to be at Fremont as soon as possible. When we reached Main Street it looked like there was nothing left including the telephone office. The wind had lifted the building up and off the concrete floor and laid the switchboard out in the back yard. The electric co.( Hawk Daniels and Charles Coleman ) lifted it into our truck with their line truck and we hauled it to our home in Van Buren. With their help we rolled it on planks and pipes into our kitchen and began to take it apart. As we did that my mother, Dorothy Smith , began drying the relays and other parts in her oven. Each piece had to be cleaned and many had to be readjusted. This went on all night and into the next two days. In the meantime Luin contacted a contractor to set a new Armco metal building on the old foundation which was done in a few days and was ready. We took the switchboard back and set it in the new office and began to run lines to the few remaining houses getting service to as many as possible in the shortest amount of time. At the same time I helped the Ozark Border, Hawk and Charlie, pull new lines and carried tools they would need to but the lines in the air on their poles. When Luin turned the switchboard unit up, it worked like a charm and was in service for several years after that until we had to enlarge the whole office and system due to the growth of Fremont. This was a terrible and hard time for both Fremont and Van Buren, but as always, everyone pulled together and worked for each other and it wasn't long before the towns began to take shape again and began to look normal once more. But the people would not forget for a long time or possibly ever. There is a different kind of love and dedication to each other in these kind of times. I believe it comes from deep within the heart of hearts, from places reserved for tragedy and understanding of this magnitude. Just like one big family everyone worked together, leaving their own broken homes to go down the street or next door to help someone else. Its hard to describe but I know it is all from the love of God and fellow man and this is what makes good neighbors.