National Guard helps with tornado cleanup in Logan County

LAKEVIEW, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio National Guard is in Logan County, working to help rebuild the communities devastated by the EF-3 tornado that hit one week ago.

Since then, community members have come together and pitched in to get the rebuilding process underway.

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The Ohio National Guard has been out here for days, doing their part to help out the residents that lost everything. According to leaders, being able to help is rewarding, but this tragedy hits home for them.

On Sunday, after declaring a state of emergency in 11 counties across central Ohio, Gov. DeWine activated the Ohio National Guard to help officials in Logan County.

“We mobilized just an initial assessment team initially and then by that afternoon, we had a full equipment package with an advanced team here on site,” said Colonel Tim Grady, task force commander with the Ohio National Guard.

Their mission is to restore access to public infrastructure in support of the Logan County Emergency Management Agency along with other local authorities.

The amount of debris on U.S. Route 33 in Lakeview has been prohibiting traffic, however significant progress has been made so far.

“It’s cleared up immensely and we’re doing everything we can to request resources from the state and coordinate all of that so things get moving very quickly and safely,” said the emergency manager with the RED HORSE Unit, Alexandria Dye.

The Ohio National Guard is trained and ready to help if and when a disaster strikes, but to see such devastation in their home state, hits hard.

“The thing that hits me the most is everybody out here is a drill status guardsmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Mark Schneider, “They left their jobs and their families to come here to volunteer, to help. So they’re all volunteers in my eyes as well, not necessarily here to do a job or make a pay, you know, have a paycheck.”

“It’s hard to see houses completely gone. People are struggling, but that’s what we’re here for, to make the transition to recovery a lot easier, a lot simpler and effective,” said Dye.

Leaders said they’ve been a part of major operations around the world, but in the few days they’ve been here, they’re amazed by all the support Logan County has received.

“The way that this community has come together, local contractors, local agencies, other counties stepping in to assist the law enforcement officers and how well that the synergy that they’ve established it just amazes me,” said Schneider.

The Ohio National Guard plans to stay out in Logan County for as long as their services are needed.

“We live here, we are in and of the community. Majority of our folks are citizen soldiers, citizen airmen, they have civilian lives. These are our families, these are our fathers, mothers, brothers, daughters and sisters. And it’s tough, but we’re proud to be able to help,” Grady said.

Gov. Dewine has requested FEMA Damage Assessment teams to survey 11 counties in Ohio, one of which is Logan County. He believes this is the next step in helping these communities recover.

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