Neighbors help neighbors in Wetumpka

Neighbors help neighbors in Wetumpka
Janice Vance, whose Wetumpka home was heavily damaged in Saturday's tornado, talks with Gov. Kay Ivey, left. (Justin Averette/Alabama NewsCenter)

Janice Vance had just returned from a funeral in Montgomery when she heard tornado sirens sound outside her home in downtown Wetumpka.

She turned on local television to check in on the weather.

“They said if you live in Wetumpka, it’s too late for you make it to shelter. About the time they said that, that’s when my front windows blew out,” Vance said.

“I ran to the hallway, trying to get to a closet. I couldn’t even close the door. That’s when I saw everything flying around here, the roof going off.”

Vance, her daughter, brother and sister-in-law survived the storm despite significant damage to her home. She is still talking with her insurance company but believes the house will be a total loss.

“I think we are going to have to start all over. It’s going to have to be rebuilt,” Vance said. “It doesn’t look so bad from the front, but the back side is pretty bad.”

Neighbors help cleanup after Wetumpka tornado from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Vance was among several survivors of Saturday’s EF-2 tornado to meet with Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday afternoon. While no serious injuries were reported, the tornado damaged about 35 homes, businesses and structures. The Wetumpka Police Department sustained heavy damage.

“Y’all carry on and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you. We’ll do all we can to help,” Ivey told Vance and her daughter Kristin Townsend.

Monday saw hundreds of volunteers come out to help.

More than 300 volunteers registered Monday on top of the 700 who were onsite Sunday. Many came from Maxwell Air Force Base – easily identifiable by their camouflage uniforms — and across the River Region.

The twister hit close to home for several volunteers. That includes two Boy and Cub Scouts troops whose meeting locations, two downtown churches, were damaged by the storm.

“I’m so sorry you lost your structure, but you didn’t lose anybody’s life. I’m proud y’all are scouts and it means a lot. Thank y’all for pitching in and helping out,” Ivey said.

“Not many areas in the United States can boast of neighbors helping neighbors like y’all are doing.”

Elmore County EMA and the American Red Cross are working to identify specific needs. Anyone wishing to donate items like clothes, socks, shoes and toiletries can contact Adullam House Thrift Store, 26 Firetower Road, Wetumpka, AL 36092 or call 334-478-3881.

Elmore County EMA encourages people to check media and social media in the days ahead for more ways to help victims as they rebuild.

Related Stories