Montgomery County homeowners after tornado: ‘You find out what’s important’

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MACE, Ind. -- A Montgomery County road that bore the brunt of a tornado's damage was almost unrecognizable as volunteers worked to clean it up on Thursday.

The first tornado in central Indiana Wednesday, now rated EF-2, went through the county and hit the towns of Mace, Linnsburg, and New Ross. It damaged 22 homes, along with numerous other farms and crops.

Two of those homes were destroyed, including Jeri Storm's place. She didn't think the name for her property, "Stormy Acres," would ever prove to be true. When the tornado hit, she had just gone down to her basement.

"I could hear stuff outside so I knew, I was like I took a hit, I took a hit," Storm said.

Her focus on Thursday, though, had turned to the many people who showed up to help her. One man donated a moving truck, and many others carried her belongings out as she worked to find a place to stay while she rebuilds.

"There’s volunteers everywhere, everywhere you turn. Some people had the day off and some people just took the day off," Storm said. "You find out what’s important, it’s not all that stuff."

Across the street, it was a similar story at Steve Mason's house, though he was more fortunate. Despite four large grain bins coming off his neighbor's property and into his yard, none of them hit his house, which is damaged but still liveable.

"There (were) big motors laying 15 feet from my house, in the backyard. It could’ve easily went through my house but it (went) right there," Mason said.

He was also thankful to have dozens of people show up to help him. They worked into the night to clear massive amounts of debris and fallen trees off his property.

"I’ve had all my co-workers from Nucor here with me, I’ve had many people from our church," Mason said.

One of those church members was Charlie Alsip, who devoted his entire day to helping Mason out.

"We’ve been cutting trees, shredding limbs, picking up and moving metal," Alsip said. "That’s what we do, we help each other when we need help."

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Shari Harrington said they did not need more volunteers, as many people had showed up to help. She was focused on coordinating efforts and making sure everyone has what they need.

"There’s been significant loss," Harrington said.

Clean up will continue in the area on Friday.

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