Call for volunteers: Tornado ravaged neighborhoods need help

Posted at 3:33 PM, Jul 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-16 22:20:51-04

KENTWOOD, Mich. – It’s been ten days since tornadoes struck West Michigan. Looking in every direction you can see and hear many crews working to restore families’ homes. The sound of chainsaws fills the air in the uprooted neighborhoods.

Walking down most streets trees have ripped through homes and lay on top of looming debris piles.

Meanwhile many homeowners are stuck: stuck in between what insurance will and will not cover, what debris the city will not remove, or they are alone without family or equipment to clear their own property.

Andy Vandermeer and Lois Hecksel were the only two volunteers working with World Renew Disaster Response Services on Wednesday in Kentwood.

“I’m retired, I have the time, and hugs are making everything worthwhile,” Hecksel told FOX 17, elbow-deep in log piles.

Now they’re asking for more volunteers to pitch in and help.

“You know they didn’t ask for this to come during the night, and to come unexpectedly,” said Vandermeer. “Hey, we do what we can for them the community’s got to come together for them.”

Vandermeer and Hecksel told FOX 17 that in the past couple days they have taken at least six truckloads of debris to Kelloggwoods Park; but lawns are still littered with log piles.

“If we had some more volunteers that would sure help. As you can see there’s a lot of work out there if you’ve been riding through the neighborhood,” reiterated Vandermeer.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the ongoing clean-up, or if you are a homeowner in need of help, you can call the World Renew Disaster Response Services, a non-profit organization based out of Byron Center, at (800) 848-5818.