SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — Residents of Bronte, Texas, came together on Wednesday, Sept. 20, to help a local gun and tackle shop pick up the pieces after an overnight storm destroyed parts of the store’s exterior.

The damage occurred after a storm battered the town in the late hours of Tuesday, Sept. 19, causing widespread damage throughout the town due to high wind speeds, heavy rain and hail. That same evening, Tim Smith, owner of Bronte Guns and Tackle, caught wind of the extent of the damage dealt to his store.

“I received a call last night at approximately 8:15 p.m. from the local sheriff’s department asking that I respond to the store in reference to the roof possibly having come off the building,” Smith said.

Thankfully, the damage wasn’t quite as bad as what the police had initially reported: The roof was still intact, though perhaps worse for wear. What wasn’t in good condition, though, was the store’s wrap-around awning.

“There was a full-length awning that ran the entire length of the store,” Smith said. “It had collapsed and had been ripped from the wall.”

Smith suspects that fast-moving wind coming to his establishment from the north or south had picked the awning up, swung it off the wall-mounted brackets supporting the structure and slammed it against the roof before causing it to crash to the ground. Much to the relief of Smith, no one was harmed by the awning’s collapse.

“I was actually slightly relieved,” Smith said, “Nobody was injured. It was just property damage.”

Though the storm eventually relented, the damage had been done. It was time for Smith to (quite literally) pick up the pieces — but, to his surprise, he wouldn’t do it alone.

“I showed up at 8:20 a.m. to start clean-up,” Smith said. “We still had some hazards because part of the awning was still hanging. I began working, and within minutes I had three or four local community people stop and start helping.”

Just three hours after Smith had begun the extensive process of cleaning up the mess left by the storm, the awning was safely removed thanks to locals who dropped everything they were doing to help, possibly putting their own storm-damaged properties on the backburner in the process.

“It made me proud to be a member of Bronte,” Smith said. “It was fantastic. That’s what you should be in small towns, should be in any town. That’s one of the benefits of living in a small town.”

Smith thanks the kind souls who helped him dismantle the collapsed awning and clean up the damage.

“I appreciate their help,” Smith said. “We don’t take it lightly that they stopped to help us, and we very much appreciate everything they did.”

The work’s not done yet, however. The storm caused damage throughout the town, meaning that repairs will need to be done, debris will need to be cleared and insurance claims will need to be made. Bronte’s residents remain undeterred, though, as the locals have come together and shown just a small part of what being a rural community truly means.