Poarch Band of Creek Indians Donated Money for Tornado Victims

Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tornado Victims

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians paid $180,000 for the 23 funerals.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians donated money to pay for the funeral costs of all 23 people killed in the recent Lee County, Alabama tornado. In all, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians paid $180,000 for the 23 funerals.

The donations were part of a massive outpouring of charity for the victims of the tornado which strucks the towns of Beauregard and Smiths Station. A crowdsourcing campaign was launched to pay for the funeral costs of Taylor Thornton, a 10-year old killed in the natural disaster.

By last Thurdsay, some $38,000 had been raised to pay for Thornton’s funeral. The 23 victims’ ages ranged from 6 years to 89 years old, including four children with the ages of 6, 8, 9, and 10.

Witnesses described the cyclone as a “monster tornado“. The National Weather Service said it was a EF4 tornado which contained winds estimated at 170 mph (274 kph). The tornado left a path of destruction nearly 27 miles long and up to nine-tenths of a mile wide, ultimately destroying large sections of Smiths Station (pop.: 5,418) and Beauregard (pop.: 10,806).

Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ Alabama Casinos

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians own three casinos in the state of Alabama: Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Wetumpka, and Wind Creek Montgomery. It also owns Mobile Greyhound Park. The Native American tribe’s holding company, Wind Creek Hospitality, owns properties in Mississippi, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Wind Creek’s holdings include Pensacola Greyhound Park and Creek Entertainment Gretna. It finances and owns the Wa She Shu Casino in Gardnersville, Nevada on the tribal lands of the Washoe Tribe. Wind Creek Hospitality bought land in D’Iberville, Mississippi to develop a casino in that city in 2016.

Sands Bethlehem Casino in Pennsylvania

Wind Creek is in the final stages of buying the Sands Bethlehem Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. When the deal is finalized, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is expected to pay $1.3 billion for the property, which is the most lucrative casino in Pennsylvania.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians also own the Renaissance Hotels brand located in Aruba and Curacao in the Caribbean.

Community Help for Tornado Victims

The tornado was one of the most devastating in Alabama history. Two entire communities were devastated. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said two days after the natural disaster: “Just keep those families in your prayers. It’s a tragic situation.

Lee County is in the east-central part of Alabama, between Montgomery and Columbus, Georgia. Though Lee County is far removed from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ base near Mobile in the south part of the state, the tribe wanted to help the victims with their considerable resources.

Search of Alabama Tornado Victims

The Alabama tornado draw together communities, who worked long hours to rescue survivors and locate the deceased. Opelika Fire Chief Byron Prather conducted searches for survivors for days, saying, “We are still conducting some searches, sifting through piles of debris where there may be people or animals. We haven’t given up hope.”

David Wayne Dean, nicknamed “Roaddog” because of his love of motorcycles, was found in the neighbor’s yard after the tornado destroyed his mobile home. Carol Dean, his widow, described his body’s recovery while choking back tears, “Our son found him. He was done and gone before we got to him. My life is gone. He was the reason I lived, the reason that I got up.”