On June 5, several tornadoes devastated northwestern Ohio, taking the lives of six people. One of the tornadoes traveled through Lake Township, near Toledo, Ohio, and rated a three on a zero-five scale for measuring tornadoes, with five being the most severe, according to the National Weather Service. Category three tornadoes can create gusts of wind up to 165 mph. Damage in Lake Township totaled an estimated $100 million, including the loss of the high school, police building, six patrol cars as destruction or damage to about 100 residential homes.
After hearing about the damage, two Lakesiders were determined to help those in need. Lakeside Leadership Academy (LLA) Interns Lexi Lindway (above) and KeeLee Ridder contacted Lakeside businesses and collected monetary donations, as well as packages of water, which were given to a donation site through United Way and the American Red Cross in Allen Township, located south of Lake Township.
After traveling to damaged sites and viewing the aftermath first-hand, Lindway and Ridder decided to volunteer their time. They contacted the Ottawa County United Way, who placed them to help clear a local farmer’s land.
Ridder, LLA Human Resources/Operations Intern, stated, "When I contacted United Way to help, I didn’t quite know how or when I was going to be able to volunteer, and then I received a call right away. The call to help a local farmer clear his field hit home for me, since I grew up on a farm. I know what it was like to need help after a disaster. I know he needed my help to clear his field so that he was able to plant and make a profit."
The 45-acre field required an all-day effort from many volunteers to remove the scattered debris. By 8 p.m. that same day, the farmer was able to replant his crops, thanks to the help of the volunteer team.
Lindway and Ridder are now awaiting their next call to help those who are in need of a helping hand. If you would like to help, please contact United Way at (616) 396-7811 or the American Red Cross at (616) 396-6545.
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