Millbury Mayor Michael Timmons remembers walking through the village the Sunday afternoon following the June 5 tornado, surveying the devastation.
Walking with him was Toledo Mayor Michael Bell.
“He looked at me and basically offered any help I needed,” Timmons said.
Recalling that day and the days that followed, he’s still amazed at the number of offers to assist the village.
One Year Ago-Devastation ran all along Main Street in Millbury.
“We had 3,700 volunteers in here the days that followed,” Timmons recalled. “By Friday, Main Street was cleared.”
He credits the City of Toledo with providing large trucks to remove the debris and Mayor Bell particularly for clearing any red tape for permits and fees for disposing at the city’s landfill.
The Ohio Department of Transportation also provided trucks for the removal.
Donations through agencies such as the Red Cross and United Way came quickly.
“People were helping any way they could,” he said, adding an array of services was made available for local officials.
“I was talking with someone from the Wood County Emergency Management Agency and remember her carrying an inch-thick sheet of contacts,” the mayor said. “I told her there was a tree that needed to be removed and she thumbed through her list and made a call. She told me it would be taken care of.”
Mayor Timmons and Ron Sims, a Lake Township trustee, represent their communities on the Long Term Recovery Committee, a panel assembled within days of the tornado by Mike George, director of United Way in Wood County, to oversee the distribution of assistance to victims.
As of May 16, 135 cases had been reviewed, Sims said. Two are considered active, the rest are inactive.
Assistance valued at $289,826, not including service and items from a distribution center the committee oversaw, has been disbursed.
“All donations, whether monetary, material, or services that came to the committee were documented and disbursed as the need was presented,” he said. “The committee not only helped on an individual basis but as needs for the whole community became apparent they were addressed by this committee. One such instance was the need for the creek running through Millbury to be cleaned. It was dammed up with debris from the tornado.”
A vital part of the committee, both men said, was the caseworker, Lisa Mora, who met directly with victims to assess their needs.
“She would meet with the families, often providing more than just the hope of monetary help but also comfort at this time of turmoil in their lives,” Sims said.
The committee was turned over to local officials this past January. The plan is for the panel to be available until June 5, 2012 but members are meeting only when they see a need to.
Sims said his involvement with the committee has given him a better perspective on the extent of the recovery.
“There is a lot more to recovery than just the clean up and rebuilding of material things,” he said. “I don’t think we would be where we are today if not for the work and expertise of the many people on the committee.”
The Lake Township trustees recently approved a resolution thanking the Northwest Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
It credits the synod and Extra Mile Ministries for offering support for survivors and raising more than $32,000 for local families.