Hope Baptist Church & School suffers total building loss
Even after total building loss to the Hope Baptist Church and School on 28 West in Alexandria, Pastor Rusty Thrift has a lot to be thankful for.
“Everyone is ok. Regardless of property damage, that’s what is most important,” said Thrift. “That everyone is ok.”
The morning started out like a normal school day. Hours before the students and faculty were praying in the sanctuary for safety, Mark Poe, teacher, was discussing the power of prayer in the classroom.
After lunch, that classroom was destroyed by the tornado that ripped through Alexandria.
At around 12:15, Poe and other teachers received an alert on their phones explaining there was a severe tornado threat in their location and that they should seek cover as soon as possible. They gathered the school’s 18 students and left the schoolhouse, going next door to the ‘Hope Baptist Church’ sanctuary.
That decision would save all of their lives.
“The schoolhouse,” said Poe, in what was left of the church sanctuary. “That’s where we ten minutes before it collapsed.”
After they arrived in the sanctuary, the students were instructed to hide under the pews for safety. To calm everyone’s nerves, the group passed the time singing classic hymns and praying.
After the storm passed, the students were escorted by authorities to a nearby shelter for their parents to pick them up safely.
Pastor Thrift is confident that the church and school will be restored in time.
At this time, there is no current timeline for Hope Baptist Church or School to reopen.
According to their Facebook page, any financial donations can be made in person at any Red River Bank location. They can also be mailed to:
Red River Bank
5631 Coliseum Blvd.
Alexandria, La 71303
Hope Baptist Church
Account # 3126190
The account is set up for deposits only.
A GoFundMe account has also been made for Hope Baptist.
The church will be meeting on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. for services at Family of Grace located at 1904 N. Bolton.