Like most of Preston Hollow on Oct. 20, Brinley Smith and her brother, Preston, took cover with parents Brian and Crystal Smith as an EF3 tornado wound its way through their neighborhood.
“It was really dark, and we went into our closet, and Preston was asleep, and there were so many noises, and our dog was barking – you could hear it like a freight train and everything,” Brinley said.
“I woke up, and I went to look out the window …” Brinley started.
“There was a giant tree that fell down!” Preston chimed in.
That loss of trees is what led People Newspapers deputy editor Bethany Erickson to a chat with the brother and sister over their dining room table in March, before the pandemic hit.
You see, the two missed the trees, and had embarked on a very ambitious plan to re-tree Preston Hollow.
“Kids Luv Trees!” Preston said.
“It’s a nonprofit to help replant all the trees after the tornado,” his sister explained. “Anyone whose tree got knocked down during the tornado can ask for a tree.”
“I cannot stress enough how completely adorable the Smith children were, but also how focused and enthusiastic they were,” Erickson said of this Best of 2020 pick. “They held lemonade stands and set up contribution jars all over the area to hit their goal.”