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Volunteers continue tornado aid

March 5, 2012

Catawba County's Red Cross chapter continues to help dozens of Burke County residents get back on their feet following January tornadoes.

Tornadoes ripped through small communities just across the Burke County line in January, destroying or damaging at least 97 homes.

Mobile homes in the Icard community were turned to shreds, and residents lost everything.

Now, those residents are getting a little help putting their lives back together.

The Catawba Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is teaming with multiple community agencies to bring new homes, appliances and long-term necessities to residents affected by the storms.

While the Red Cross is taking the lead on the relief efforts, the United Methodist Church, United Way, N.C. Baptist Men and Methodist Men are all volunteering in some fashion.

Suzan Anderson, executive director of the Catawba Valley chapter of the American Red Cross, said the relief efforts are a great example of local agencies partnering together.

“If we had housing as a need and needed a home, the Methodist Church and Methodist Men had a line on some mobile homes they would be able to buy and they were doing that end,” Anderson said. “If it was a construction need, it might be the Baptist Men that would volunteer to do that.”

Already, a total of six families will soon receive new homes, and 32 homes are scheduled for repair, according to information provided by the Red Cross.

With the support, the Red Cross is currently working 21 separate cases of affected families, and officials say there are more cases pending.

Anderson said more and more storm victims are coming forward looking for relief. She said a case worker is addressing each victim’s concerns and reaching out to neighboring agencies that can help.

The Red Cross and other relief agencies opened the first house last week to the Clark family, which lost everything in the January storms.

“The people seeing it and knowing they would have a place to live. It was really good,” Anderson said. “It warms my heart every day that I’m there.

We are very blessed that our national Red Cross agreed with us about our local need. We were very blessed that our national organization takes recovery very seriously.”

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