Just hours after a devastating tornado had ripped through a large section of Main
|Red Cross workers were out hours after the storm
offering beverages and snacks to tornado victims
along Main Street in Millbury. (Press photo by Tammy
Street in Millbury, disaster relief efforts were already in full swing.
“Do you want an orange? Some water?” one of two women wearing American Red Cross vests asked residents whose homes sustained moderate damage. Her colleague was pulling a wagon with a cooler bearing fruits and bottled water as they walked along the 2800 block of Main.
The relief workers passed by a law enforcement checkpoint as they made their way north from homes moderately damaged by the EF4 (Enhanced Fujita) scale tornado – the second highest classification with winds between 166 and 200 mph – into the section of Main Street where homes were severely damaged or wiped away completely.
Up ahead, emergency personnel were surveying the destruction at what was the home of the Walters family. Four-year-old Hayden Walters was swept away and killed by the tornado. His mother, Mary Walters, was critically injured and later died at a Toledo hospital. His father, Ryan Walters, was in critical condition as of press time and his 8-year-old sister, Madison, was also hospitalized in serious condition with various broken bones.
In the opposite direction, at Main and Cherry, just across from the Millbury Post Office, bottled water, coffee, snacks and large doses of comfort were being distributed at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 28505 Main St. The church served a variety of functions in the days after the tornado – from a place to reflect and pray, to a first aid station, to a collection point where photos, paperwork and other belongings of victims found scattered throughout the residential area and nearby woods were collected. Items were placed in cardboard boxes with the family’s name listed in marker on the front.
Mainstreet Church in Walbridge, whose members include Mary and Ryan Walters and their children, became a collection point for donations of food, clothing and bottled water. On Monday, church volunteers were serving hundreds of sack lunches and hot meals to disaster victims and clean-up crews.
Free tetanus shots were given out Monday and Tuesday by the Wood County Health Department at the Millbury Fire Hall in an effort to protect residents, their families and friends and hundreds of volunteers pouring into the area to help.
Wood County Emergency Management Agency director Brad Gilbert, at a press conference Wednesday, called “fantastic” the outpouring of support from volunteers who came from near and far to help.
How you can help
Churches, a local food bank, groups of students from Lake and other schools, business owners and individuals desperate to do something – anything to help, flooded the United Way of Greater Toledo’s 2-1-1 phone number.
United Way’s 2-1-1 service is serving as a central clearing house for victims seeking aid information and people and businesses interested in providing volunteer help and donating needed items.
2-1-1 serves the WHOLE area (Wood, Hancock, Ottawa, Lucas and Erie counties). Callers who dial in are connected to an information and referral specialist who is highly trained to evaluate each individual situation, access United Way’s extensive database and provide information on the most helpful resources. Calls are confidential and service is available in Spanish.
“There are so many people who want to help,” said Kelli Kreps, a spokeswoman for the United Way. “As the cleanup process progresses, there will be a need for volunteers with specific skill sets and 2-1-1 offers a great way to connect those people with the people who need them.”
Visit www.unitedwaytoledo.org for more information about the service.
People who want to contribute financially to disaster relief have several options. Among the agencies that have provided services are:
•The American Red Cross Greater Toledo Area Chapter. “The outpouring of support for tornado relief has been just been tremendous,” said Jodie Tienvieri, Red Cross spokesperson. “The people in this area give and give, and just when you think they can’t give any more – especially in this economy, they generously turn out to help their neighbors in a time of need.”
• Those who wish to donate to the Red Cross can make a secure online donation at www.redcrosstoledo.org. Donations may also be sent to Red Cross Greater Toledo Area Chapter, 3100 W. Central Ave., Toledo, OH 43606. Call 1-888-590-0098 for more information. Those needing disaster services may call 419-329-6060.
• GenoaBank has established a fund to accept donations to help the victims of the June 5 tornado.
Cash donations and checks will be accepted at all six locations of the bank and should be made payable to the American Red Cross with “Tornado Disaster Relief” in the memo line.
• Support the Salvation Army’s Northwest Ohio Area Services by visiting the agency’s Web site at www.salvationarmynwohio.com, by calling 419-241-1130 or by sending a check to: P.O. Box 798, Toledo, OH 43697-0798.
• ISOH/IMPACT, a Waterville-based organization that provides disaster assistance not only locally but also nationally and even internationally, is sponsoring Bucket Brigade to help disaster victims. Those wishing to help are invited to fill a five-gallon bucket with either cleaning or food items.
For Operation Cleanup, fill the bucket with one gallon of bleach, two bottles of dish soap, two bottles of disinfectant cleaner, four sponges, a pair of gloves and a box of plastic trash bags.
For Operation Feed Families, fill the bucket with canned vegetables and fruits, ready-to-eat canned meats, rice, beans, dried fruit, nuts, powdered milk, baby food (no glass containers), a manual can opener. Please no water, glass items or clothing.
All donations may be dropped at The Town Center at Levis Commons in front of JB’s Sarnie Shoppe, 4195 Levis Commons Blvd. Perrysburg.
Those who don’t wish to fill a bucket may contribute $25 directly to ISOH/IMPACT offices at 25182 W. River Rd., Perrysburg, OH 43551, or donate by credit card by calling the offices at 419-878-8548.
A number of fundraisers and special events are being planned to help local victims. The Press will include information as it becomes available. Details will be updated as they come in at www.presspublications.com.
• On June 13, Rayz Café in Genoa will hold a fundraising barbecue chicken dinner from noon to 8 p.m. The cost is $8, with all proceeds going to help Ottawa County families. In addition to the dinner, there will be entertainment at noon and 50/50 and side raffles throughout the day.
• A Lake Township Tornado Disaster Relief Benefit Concert will be held June 19 from 1-9 p.m., 3150 Navarre Ave., Holiday Inn Plaza. Sponsored by Yeeha’s Bucking Bar & Grill, with the City of Oregon.
Featuring bands, a DJ, beer and concession sales. Donations of money, food and/or clothing welcome.