American Red Cross helping 23 victims of NW Ohio tornadoes

American Red Cross helping 23 victims of NW Ohio tornadoes

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It has been almost a week now since tornadoes tore through parts of Defiance and Paulding Counties and the American Red Cross has been busy making sure victims have the help they need.

The Red Cross has sent 30 volunteers to the tornado damaged areas and has been helping 23 people, which includes 12 adults and 11 children.

The damage was devastating, especially in Defiance and Paulding Counties. The Red Cross' West Central Ohio Chapter said 150 homes were damaged in their zone and that's why dozens of volunteers were needed. They rushed out last Wednesday night as soon as the bad weather passed through and it was safe to enter the communities.

Derek Stemen, Executive Director of the West Central chapter, said, "We were providing feeders, through our feeding trucks and mobile kitchens, to help with the cleanup efforts and those that were helping through the volunteer efforts."

One of the families being helped is the Logans in Cecil, Ohio, which is in Paulding County. Their home was nearly destroyed by a tornado and three family members survived by hiding out in a bathtub. Red Cross caseworkers have met with them and are helping in their recovery, another example of how they help people and their worst of times.

"Their reaction is one of gratitude. So many people are thankful that we are here to help, that our volunteers are here to help and we are just happy To do that," said Stemen. Mental health teams have also been there to help victims who need counseling.

The Red Cross knows it's only a matter of when, not if, the next disaster hits and they continue to look for donations from the public.

"But really if you can't give your money we really need volunteers that would be willing to set up, to go through the training for the purpose of possibly being deployed sometime. We're seeing a lot of activity for national disasters right now," said Rachel-Hepner Zawodny, Executive Director of the Red Cross in Toledo.

The Red Cross does not provide long-term housing for victims to have to renovate or rebuild their homes, but they are connecting them with the resources that they need to recover.   

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