The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Funds released to assist victims of tornado
Area residents who may have suffered damages from the recent tornadoes in Wood and Ottawa counties can find some financial assistance from a grant provided by the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Community Services.

As of June 21, $75,000 is available for the next six months to victims of the tornadoes who may need assistance with insurance deductibles, housing assistance, and other needs that resulted from the tornado disaster.

The grant provides $500 to 50 families in Ottawa County and 100 families in Wood County. Families who are eligible for this assistance are those who are on already established lists created by the county’s Emergency Management Association (EMA) or the Red Cross. In addition, AmeriCorps volunteers from WSOS have been assigned to each county to provide clean up assistance both to the communities as well as to homeowners.

Wood County residents can find information at Lutheran Social Services, 419-836-8986, or the United Way of Wood County. A case manager from Lutheran Social Services will work with Wood County families.

Ottawa County residents should call 419-332-7987 for assistance. A WSOS case manager is working with Ottawa County families.

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After learning that a tornado had ripped through Lake Township on the night of June 5, Mike McAlear, of Perrysburg Township, immediately jumped into his vehicle and headed straight to his company, Service Spring Corporation, at 4370 Moline-Martin Road in Millbury.

“I was listening to Skywarn, turned on a transceiver for Lake Township and heard they lost a building. Then I did the prudent thing and drove out there,” said McAlear, a ham operator.

McAlear, who’s never before experienced a tornado, saw emergency personnel aiding victims as he made his way to his company. One woman, he said, was already dead.

“I got there about 11:45. I saw total devastation. The Lake Township building was pretty much in a million pieces. My two neighbors lost their houses. The one gentleman was born in his house. It shakes you up,” said McAlear.

His company, which manufactures spring mechanisms, mostly for the overhead garage doors industry, sustained moderate damage to one of three facilities. The remaining two facilities, about 50 yards east of the site, were totally destroyed.

“I lost those buildings completely,” said McAlear. “We have estimated $1 million in property damage.”

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What does it feel like to be in the eye of a tornado? For Ronald and Janice Johns, of Millbury, it is something they wish they did not know.

Their home, located on Collins Road, is now a flattened piece of real estate thanks to the June 5 F-4 tornado that ripped through Millbury.

“It has been tough,” Janice said, choking back tears. “There is so much to think about right now.”

According to Janice, she had already developed the habit of grabbing important papers, wallets and money whenever severe weather was approaching. That Saturday evening would be the same.

“We heard the sirens and I grabbed my things to take them downstairs,” Janice explained. “We really did not take it too seriously at first. In fact, I was ready to go to bed.”

While she was taking the valuables to the basement, Ron went outside to see what was going on, Janice said. Minutes later, her husband ran into the home and told her to get downstairs immediately.

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Mainstreet Church Pastor Marty Pennington has been a busy man.

During the week after twin tornados destroyed approximately 100 homes in Lake Township, he counted “upwards of 800 to 1,000 people coming in and out of our church to go out and help.” That includes only members from his church.

“We’ve done a lot of relief ministry and work out and about with the community. A lot of volunteers have come out of our church,” Pastor Pennington said.

Many of the church’s members live within the impacted areas of Millbury and Moline, said Pastor Pennington, including victims that lost homes and their lives.

Killed by the tornados were four members, including Ted Kranz, the father of surviving Lake senior class valedictorian Katelyn Kranz, and three members of the Walters family, including parents Ryan and Mary Walters and their four-year-old son Hayden. Pastor Pennington officiated all three funeral services as Mary and Hayden’s were combined.

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Oregon Day, held at the city’s municipal complex in August for the last three years, will be replaced with a Fourth of July extravaganza this year.

Boomfest at the Grove, hosted by the city and BP Husky, will be held at Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Street on July 4 from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. Besides fireworks, the event will feature live entertainment, a car show, and food and drink.

Mayor Mike Seferian said he decided to replace Oregon Day, which was started to celebrate the city’s 50th anniversary, because it failed to draw much of a crowd.

“This year, people expected it again,” he said.

But food vendors had lost money because of low turnout, and the public could watch the fireworks away from the municipal complex, he said.

“The city did a lot of work to set up the grounds. One year, there were only 30-40 people. Few came to the event,” he said. “People didn’t really buy anything from the vendors. There was nothing to hold them there. People parked around Starr Extension, and other places, to see the fireworks from miles away.”

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