It didn’t take long for Lallendorf Road residents to go to each other’s aid after an EF2 tornado made its way through the neighborhood, taking apart roofs and carrying other debris with it.
The storm hit about 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, and within minutes Anita and Jeffrey Jacobs were checking on their neighbors, Robert and Patricia Zeller.
“We were eating dinner and we had the TV on in the kitchen and was listening to it, and I went out on the back deck and listened, and it was really still, and then my husband went out and he thought it had a weird smell,” Anita said.
“And then, we all went to the basement and we turned the television on in the basement, and then within five minutes it hit. It hit, and it was a really weird sound. And really, it only lasted about 25 seconds. I mean, it was real quick,” Anita continued.
“Then the lights went out, and my husband got flashlights. I have a 17-year-old son, Josh, with me and my husband went upstairs to make sure our house was OK, and then he went outside, and that's when he saw my neighbor's roof. Then, he went over there (to the Zellers’), and when I went out to look for my husband, and I was yelling his name, and he said to call 911 because their house was badly damaged.”
Patricia Zeller had recently had knee surgery, and it was difficult enough for her to get around. The Zellers were in the house watching football when the storm hit. After the tornado hit, Jeffrey went inside to see what he could do.
“She needed some shoes, and my husband went around and he found some shoes for her, and then the rescue squad was there on time,” Anita said.
Within 24 hours, the Zellers were staying at a nearby hotel. On Monday, other neighbors went to work alongside restoration companies, likely sent by insurance companies.
For the Jacobs, the Zellers did them a favor, too, or at least an evergreen tree belonging to the Zellers did.
“There was an evergreen that was our neighbors I think that saved our house from being hit by their roof on their house,” Anita said. “That evergreen now was lying underneath, and the roots were actually pulled out of the ground, and I think that's what saved our house from getting hit by a major part of the neighbor's house roof.”
Then, neighbor Gary Supinski came over with his chain saw, and another neighbor, Denise Alexander, stopped by to help Jeffrey get to a an important family event. Joining them were other volunteers from almost “out of nowhere.”
“Another thing, my husband had a relative's funeral (Monday) morning, and he needed to get out of the driveway to the funeral for his uncle that passed away, and our neighbor (Supinski) came over,” Anita said.
“We did not ask him, but he came with a chain saw and cut a path, because we had a couple trees across the driveway and could not get a car out, and he came over and cut. Then, the other neighbor right next to us, she (Alexander) helped clear it off.
“Then a couple other guys just showed up that we didn't even know just showed up. So people that we did not know and people who were neighbors had it cleared within minutes that my husband had to leave, and it was close. So the neighbors were really wonderful, and people we didn't even know showed up that were wonderful.”