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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In the two weeks since the tornado devastated areas of Wood and Ottawa county, individuals, businesses and organizations continue to look for ways to reach out and help the victims of the twister.

In the past week, fundraisers of all kinds – everything from garage sales, barbecues and dart tournaments – have been held throughout the region, and plans call for more efforts in the weeks ahead.

The Press would like to know of fundraising and other efforts to help tornado victims in Wood and Ottawa counties. Call 419-836-2221 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with information. 

There are also several Facebook pages devoted to helping local tornado victims, along with a page devoted to nominate Lake High School for the TV show, “Extreme Makeover, Home Edition” (search Extreme Makeover Home Edition: Lake High School).

Here is a sampling of ways to help:

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Luckies Barn and Grill employee Casey Parker was in the wrong place at the right time — or maybe the right place at the wrong time.

Parker, from North Toledo, and her fiancé, Bill Cousino, were at the “Beach House” — the nickname for the home of Russell and Tammy Beach on Main Street in Millbury when tornados struck June 5. 

“It was interesting, that’s for sure. The house we were at, my fiancé plays softball with them, and fortunately we were there with them. They had the softball team over for a cookout and a party. It was about six people that lost their cars, and the house that we were in was pretty bad. We were very, very lucky, that’s for sure,” Parker said.

“Thank God we were there. Everybody’s houses were gone, you know, and our house was kind of like the safe house because it was still standing. The guys and girls and everybody helped out. In 45 minutes the ambulance and fire department was there they were pulling people out of the rubble. It was definitely scary,” Parker continued. “Everybody knew to go to the Beach House that evening. He had a generator that was running.”

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Air Force veteran John “Jack” Gallagher thought he had seen it all while in

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Vietnam. But nothing prepared him for what was going to go down as midnight approached on June 5.

Gallagher’s Trowbridge Road home was hit hard by tornadoes that crossed from Wood County over into Ottawa County that night. Gallagher, his wife, his daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend took the correct action — they went to the basement.

“It was pretty scary. I’d been watching the news on TV and saw it coming,” Gallagher said.

What many describe as sounding like a freight train, Gallagher compares the noise of an oncoming tornado to a fighter jet he knew so much about during his Air Force stint.

Once the tornado reached his home, all his family could do was sit back and listen.

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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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Poll module

Christmas spending

Are spending more, less or the same amount this year for Christmas?
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