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New campaign reminds Kokomo tornado victims that there is still help

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KOKOMO, Ind. – The United Way of Howard County started a new campaign, which will focus on contacting Kokomo tornado victims to notify them that resources continue to be available in the community.

It has been more than three months since a tornado ripped through Kokomo, but the rebuilding efforts have not stopped. The winter season stalled some of that rebuilding, Myles Geary, a volunteer, said. Geary is also the communications director of long-term tornado recovery for United Way of Howard County.

“The timing of the tornado….any tornado is terrible,” said Geary. “But the timing of it, this year, was exceptionally bad because it was right after that we started getting just the weather that prevents anything from being rebuilt easily.”

Geary said it is important for Hoosiers to know they have support.

“We’re hoping that if we can get past this month or through this month and start getting the word out and hopefully people will start the rebuilding process,” Geary said.

The new campaign is known as “Just Ask”. On Saturday, more than 70 volunteers are expected to knock on people’s door to hand out information to them. Volunteers will go into the neighborhoods directly impacted by November’s tornado. If people need help with anything, like fixing their roof or new gutters, they are urged to call 211.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows we’re still here for the recovery process,” Geary said.

Cheryl Graham, director of 211, recently asked for help herself after strong winds knocked down her fence.

“I thought I had it all together, you know, I’m a typical homeowner and I have insurance so I thought…well…it’s just going to get taken care of,” Graham said.

Graham said her focus has always been on bringing people together and that has not stopped. She does not want Hoosiers to be afraid to ask them for help.

“We need to know what our community needs, you know. It’s a new game. It was obvious back in November and now it’s not quite so obvious,” Graham said.

If you need help, the United Way of Howard County does not want people to wait.  Call 211 immediately.

Geary said it is important for them to connect with tornado victims. If you know a victim, let them know about the “Just Ask” campaign.

“We just want people to be really vigilant and see the information. (Please make sure to) pass it to people they know (that were) affected that may not be able to get the information,” Geary said.