Zach Bryan aids in tornado relief efforts for Nebraskans before performing back-to-back concerts

Left: A photo of damage left behind by tornadoes in Nebraska; Center: Zach Bryan posing with a fan; Right: A screenshot of a TikTok showing Zach Bryan cleaning up damage left behind by tornadoes in Elkhorn, Nebraska

When tornado sirens rang across parts of Nebraska and Iowa last Friday afternoon, residents did what they always do: Seek shelter. (And, in some instances, go outside to catch the twister on film.)

But this storm system was a lot more devastating than Midwesterners are used to seeing; in suburban Omaha and Elkhorn, Nebraska alone, at least 150 homes were damaged or destroyed. 

One of dozens of reported tornadoes even registered as an EF-3, one of the most severe the area has seen in its history.

The tornadoes tore through homes and businesses for miles, through farms and into residential areas in Eastern Nebraska, before hitting an Iowa town.

Miraculously, no fatalities were reported in Nebraska, and less than two dozen people were treated in area hospitals, according to reports from the Associated Press. However, four people have died due to inclement weather in other Midwest states this weekend.

Regardless, the damage across the region left hundreds of residents without homes.

A group of six people stand side by side, showing off their orange safety vests. They read "The Quittin Time Tour: Local Crew"
Photo courtesy of Joanna Geiger Webster/Facebook

Instantly, the Nebraska community rallied. Churches and businesses opened their doors for shelter, resources, and support; vet clinics provided free care and microchip scans for animals; and volunteers showed up in swaths to help clean up the devastation.

Among those volunteers was country singer Zach Bryan, a Nebraska native who was coincidentally in the area for his “Quittin Time Tour.”

“As an American and someone who lived in Omaha for some pretty formidable years of my life, I want to offer some honest prayers and hopes to the communities affected by the tornadoes that tore through them,” Bryan wrote on Instagram.

“The band and I are standing with you guys as we are playing some shows in Omaha. I am so sorry to anyone that is having to deal with picking up the pieces of their homes and their lives. Without taking credit from the thousands of people lending a hand who have roots here, we love you so much and we’ll do all we can to help.”

Bryan was photographed by a number of community members as he lended a hand in an Elkhorn neighborhood, though according to some fans, he and his team asked people not to take photos, as he didn’t want any special credit for lending a helping hand.

“I can’t say I am a country music [or] Zach Bryan fan… but I will call myself a fan now due to his serving heart off the stage,” one community member, Mandi Brooks Chaplin, wrote on Facebook.

“Find your passion and don’t forget to serve your community when in need and not in need,” she added.

Zach Bryan smiles next to a teen boy in a residential neighborhood in Elkhorn, Nebraska
Photo courtesy of Mandi Brooks Chaplin/Facebook

Her son, Mason, was able to get a photo with the country singer after volunteering alongside him all afternoon. 

Another community member, Kristi Anderson, shared a photo of Bryan at work on Instagram.

“I was a fan before but now even more so,” she shared in her caption. “That’s country music star Zach Bryan and my son Gavin helping with tornado cleanup. What a great human!”

@maddox.nelson7 Zach Bryan helped our neighborhood clean up in Elkhorn, NE after the tornado. My daughter told me this video was better# #tornado #zachbryan #nebraska ♬ original sound - maddoxnelson7

Bryan’s Omaha concert is scheduled for tonight, Monday, April 29, and tomorrow, Tuesday, April 30, where many local fans will certainly gather — finding a much-needed reprieve from a long weekend picking up the pieces tornadoes left in their wake.

“Can’t wait to see him Tuesday,” one local wrote in a Facebook comment. “Thanks, Zach Bryan, for helping our community when you certainly didn’t have to.”

Header images courtesy of Zach Bryan, Mandi Brooks Chaplin, and Maddox Nelson

Article Details

April 29, 2024 8:58 AM
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