Volunteers reaching out to those in need after tornadoMany homes and entire neighborhoods in Dickinson were torn to shreds during a tornado last week,
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
Many homes and entire neighborhoods in Dickinson were torn to shreds during a tornado last week, but progress is being made in the clean-up effort. Streets are clear and passable, tons of trees and debris have been hauled out or are at least organized in piles and many people have begun repairing their homes and property.
No serious injuries were reported from the July 8 tornado.
South Dickinson is beginning to look less like a war zone but those affected by the storm along with volunteers were still working hard Tuesday.
“They’ve done a fantastic job, the people that have been out there,” said Brent Pringle, Stark County interim emergency manager. “It just looks so much different.”
He said a few volunteers sustained injuries while helping, but they were very minor.
Campers, staff and visitors of Badlands Ministries of Medora came to Dickinson Tuesday, broke into groups and cleaned up several properties.
“We talk a lot about service all week and so this is a great chance to put the campers’ faith in action,” said Brent Seaks, director of Badlands Ministries.
One group cleaned debris at Lynelle Berger and Bruce Hecker’s residence. Berger said they are not allowed to live in their home until the roof and windows are fixed and she is unsure how long that will take.
“I’m tired of the motel already,” Berger said.
Many of the belongings she salvaged were covered with glass and debris.
“Pretty much everything is shot,” Berger said.
Nicole Ryan, a Dickinson volunteer, also helped clean up Berger’s residence. She was shocked at the damage.
“It’s incredible,” she said.
Several volunteers helped haul uprooted trees and branches out of Pete and Lorraine Kuchenski’s yard.
Allie Praeuner, 16, a camper from Badlands Ministries said she was happy to help.
“This week we haven’t got to work as much as we had on past mission trips so we were ready to work,” Praeuner said.
Lowell Pelton of Dickinson came by with a chain saw and chopped up trees while others hauled the pieces away.
There were roughly 300 volunteers organized Saturday, 200 Sunday and over 100 Tuesday, Pringle said.
He added emergency management will not coordinate volunteers today or until further notice. Officials need to begin on the demolition phase, Pringle said.
The National Guard will no longer secure the south side of Dickinson after 6 a.m. today and will finish clean-up efforts tonight, Pringle said. Local law enforcement will patrol the area heavily, he said.
There have been issues encountered with power but for the most part, electricity has been restored to the south side, Pringle said. He added unsafe structures will not have power.
Eight people stayed at a shelter set up at Hillside Baptist Church on Tuesday, Pringle said.
Many people have made donations and Pringle said tarps and bottled water are no longer needed.
For those who would like to continue helping, a benefit called Tornado Band-Aid Relief will be held from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Dickinson Recreation Center.