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Arkansas church mourns flood victims

The destruction of these campers by raging Arkansas flood waters mimics that of a strong tornado. (Photo by Brigette Williams, American Red Cross)

On Wednesday night, Adam and Leslie Jez and their 3-year-old son, Kaden, attended Vacation Bible School at the Foreman Church of Christ, in the southwest corner of Arkansas, just miles from the Oklahoma state line.
On Thursday, they met up with family at Albert Pike Recreation Area, about 70 miles northeast of Foreman.
Before dawn Friday, Leslie Jez, 23, and Kaden lost their lives when a flash flood swept through their campsite on the edge of the Ouachita National Forest. They were among 20 flood victims, including Leslie’s mother, Sheri Wade, 46.
“Kaden was the sunshine of everybody’s life,” said Billy Blakeney, minister of the Foreman Church of Christ, where a capacity crowd of at least 300 is expected to attend this afternoon’s funeral service for the boy and his mother.

Kaden and Leslie Jez (photo provided by family)

Kaden’s grandmother Dixie Jez is a faithful member of the congregation, as is his father, who survived the flood. Adam Jez, an electrician, grew up at the Foreman church. Leslie Jez, a college student, was not a member but attended services with her family.
“Little Kaden attended our Bible class every Sunday morning with his grandmother,” Blakeney said. “He came out of that class just beaming and singing, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'”
Blakeney described Leslie Jez as a “lovely lady” with a “beautiful personality.” She was active in rodeos, the minister said.
In an emotional interview with The Associated Press, Leslie Jez’s grandfather reflected on the victims:

“(Kaden’s) only vocabulary when it wasn’t ‘mama’ and ‘daddy’ consisted of tractors and horses,” Leslie’s grandfather, former Arkansas legislator Charles “Bubba” Wade, said Sunday. “I can just see her holding the baby” during the flood, Wade said of his granddaughter, his words choked with grief. …
Wade said camping trips and the outdoors were commonplace for his large family. His children and grandchildren went to Boy and Girl Scout events in the Albert Pike Recreation Area, and Kaden and Leslie rode horses and rounded up cattle together.
“Little Kaden had been up here on my 81st birthday, sitting on my lap with cowboy boots on,” said Wade, who spent 18 years as a state lawmaker and introduced the legislation that created the nearby Millwood State Park.

The video below reports on the flood.

  • Feedback
    My heart goes out to all the families.
    Rose Mohsen
    July, 23 2010

    We send our Deepest sympathy to the bereaved family,relatives & friends. Also to the congregation .On behalf of the churches of christ in Guyana.Have you all in prayers.
    Sandra Lam
    November, 20 2010

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