Clark County seeks volunteers to help tornado cleanup efforts

Volunteers needed for four weekends in recovery effort from EF-2 tornado Feb. 27.



Clark County is asking for more volunteers to assist in continuing cleanup work following an EF-2 tornado on Feb. 27 that damaged more than 100 homes.

The county’s Long Term Recovery Committee teamed up with American Regulators USA — a nonprofit that mobilizes volunteers to provide support following natural disasters, as well as providing other assistance — to complete 23 residential property cleanups. These crews were from the nonprofit and local volunteers, with about 950 hours going toward the efforts. More volunteers are needed to continue cleanup-up efforts, according to a release.

The tornado damaged 109 homes, with seven being destroyed — meaning down to the foundation — 13 suffering major damage, 22 with minor damage and 67 being affected in any other way, Emergency Management Agency Director Michelle Clements-Pitstick said in March.

The tornado, which had a path width of 500 yards, traveled 21.3 miles across eastern Clark County into Madison County starting at 4:52 a.m., reaching maximum wind speeds of 130 mph before lifting at 5:15 a.m. in a field near London, according to the National Weather Service. It caused minor injuries to three people.

The Long Term Recovery Committee, formed by the EMA to manage long-term recovery efforts, is made up of representatives from the EMA, United Way of Clark, Champaign & Madison Counties; The Salvation Army of Clark County; The Nehemiah Foundation; Northeastern Local School District and Clark-Shawnee Local School District.

“We are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support and generosity from our community and all our community partners. Their contributions have been crucial in making Clark County more resilient and accelerating our recovery efforts,” Clements-Pitstick said in a release.

Volunteers are asked to help clean up debris May 18-19, May 25-26, June 1-2 and June 8-9. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, starting with an on-site briefing. Lunch and beverages will be provided. Cleanup dates are weather permitting, according to the release.

Specific cleanup locations will be posted on the American Regulators USA Disaster Relief Facebook page. An electronic liability release form must be filled out before participation is permitted.

“Join us in helping to restore the community by volunteering your time and skills to support those in need,” said Mark Fouts, board president of American Regulators USA.

The Salvation Army of Clark County connected with each household that was impacted, opening 59 cases, of which 51 have been closed. The Salvation Army opened an emergency shelter for those displaced by the tornado and also assisted with hot meals, groceries, tarps, clothing, gas cards, cleaning supplies, transportation, appliance, home repairs, building materials and more, according to the release.

Since the tornado, United Way has managed donations, with 100% of money received going to the fund. the Long Term Recovery Committee then determined the best use of funds. According to the release, almost $10,000 was donated to the Clark County Disaster Relief Fund, with most of it going toward supplying equipment American Regulators has needed to work with volunteers in cleanup. A smaller portion of funds was used to buy storage totes for residents urgently needing to gather belongings.

Kerry Pedraza, United Way executive director, thanked the Community Health Foundation and other donors for supporting the fund, as well as Park National Bank for managing the fund’s account.

“As it has in the past, our community willingly stepped up and took action to rally around our neighbors who needed help,” Pedraza said in the release.

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