Tornado damage clean up underway in Jefferson County | News
Wednesday's storms left a big, expensive mess in the small Jefferson County town of Boyd. According to the National Weather Service an EF-1 tornado touched down in the Boyd area with winds ranging from 72 to 112 miles per hour.
Members of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Office say the tornado's path stretched some 14 miles and damaged more than one hundred homes. Destruction from the storm is estimated to cost more than 3.5 million dollars. But thanks to many volunteers, the cleanup and recovery process is already underway.
Not long after Wednesday's tornado touched down members of from this Southern Baptist Illinois Disaster Relief Unit, did what they do best, start to help people rebuild their lives.
"We went to each door and asked if people were alright, if they was good for the night," said Team Leader Ray Johnson.
Johnson and his team now use chain saws and a Bobcat to remove downed trees and limbs. It's not easy work. But 70 -year old Johnson says, the gratitude received from storm victims keeps him going.
"We've witness the people out here, we seen them cry and it just touches your heart," Johnson said.
The team is on their 4th job so far. Once finished, they plan to head to Gary Griswold's home, which is just next door.
"Our patio roof ended up flipping over the house and a tree came down and landed on my room and put a five foot gash in the roof," Griswold said.
Griswold just graduated from Woodlawn High School. But on Friday, Griswold received a surprising call from his former high school principal.
"I learned my senior class is wanting to donate our $900 surplus to help fix the house," Griswold said.
Inside Boyd Christian Church volunteers feed anyone who needs a meal. 72-year-old Charles Douthit just finished lunch. Douthit says he was told his home is probably no longer safe to live in anymore. Despite the possible loss, Douthit still sees the good from the storm.
"We have had people come, not from here, helping, wanting to work or you know whatever," Douthit said. "I had a guy come up the other day wanting to give me money," Douthit explained. "Everybody needs money, but yet we don't need it that bad," He added.
Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency deemed more than 20 homes in the Boyd area no longer safe to live.
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