First responders, still protecting tornado sites, thanked by Gov. Parson and community

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OZARK, Mo.– Governor Mike Parson shook a lot of hands Friday afternoon. Some belonged to those left rebuilding their homes. Others belonged Ozark Police officers still standing watch over the partially-destroyed Waterford neighborhood.  

ON RIGHT: Mike Parson Walks Through Waterford Neighborhood, Talks with Tornado Victims  

Three nights earlier, tornadoes tore through a lot of Southwest Missouri. Ozark, Missouri’s Waterford neighborhood was one of the more heavily impacted areas in the region. 

With a few homes completely destroyed, by Friday, not much ground had been made in terms of rebuilding.  

“These things aren’t going to be done in a week or so,” Parson said from the front lawn of one now-roofless house.  

As Waterford residents continue the reconstruction process, Ozark Police are standing watch.  

“We have a responsibility to protect the citizens of Ozark,” Lt. Derek Hill explained Friday.  

Hill is one of a few Ozark PD officers keeping an eye out for people trying to rip off those Waterford residents now trying to track down their scattered belongings. 

“Unfortunately there is that element,” Hill says. “You’re going to have people who try to take advantage of people impacted by a natural disaster.”

The threat is enough to warrant what’s been called a heavy police presence.

The gratitude officers are seeing is something Hill says they could never get enough of.

“It really helps us and keeps us going,” Hill says.  

Want to hear more from Lt. Hill? Click the video to the LEFT. 

It didn’t hurt hearing that praise from Governor Parson too.  

“I was pretty impressed by the organizations that were there already there on the ground,” Parson said Friday. “You’re going to see that recovery effort [go] much smoother with all those people working. There’s a lot of dedicated people out here trying to help people in their time of need. That really showcases who we are in Missouri.” 

BELOW: Parson poses with one of the Waterford Tornado survivors.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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