Fresh off a vacation, Mrs. Hank woke me up at somewhere around 1:30 Tuesday morning to tell me there was a storm.
She wanted me to come sit in the hall in the middle of the house, like you’re supposed to do.
I rolled over to the foot of the bed on the floor and went back to sleep. I must have snored through the 80 mph winds that hit the Gnadenhutten area. So when I crawled out of my blankets Tuesday morning, I half expected to see our roof in the back yard.
We were lucky and had minimal damage.
That wasn’t the case for others, though.
Totally Gnaden, trees were on cars and houses. The trees that didn’t blow over by the roots snapped in half as if they were hit by a giant karate chop.
Heck’s Grove Park was a mess as well. You couldn’t really see the ground for trees, limbs and other debris laying around.
I went to work, but took a ride through Gnaden when I got home.
What I saw and heard made me sad over the damage, but happy — proud, in fact — to be a part of this small community.
At our first stop, I heard a story of a woman driving around town with a tub of coffee. They said she’d stop where a bunch of folks were working, fill up a couple pot and pass out the coffee.
I saw neighbors helping each other. I saw folks walking around town carrying chainsaws to help where needed. People showed up with backhoes and heavy equipment.
There were pickup trucks and trailers all through town as folks started the cleanup process that follows a huge storm. It didn’t help anything that most of these folks didn’t have power and temperatures were sitting in the 90s with a heat index that was into triple digits.
The park looked like it had been hit by a bomb. Photographer Andrew Dolph said it looked like a war zone. Yet it was fairly clear by Thursday morning. It seems a group of high school basketball players were joined by folks from various communities in helping clean things up.
Restaurants — Pangrazios, Texas Roadhouse, Hog Heaven, Little Caesars, East of Chicago Pizza, along with the Salvation Army (I’m sure there were others) — delivered food for those working on the cleanup efforts.
As I watched this unfold, it hit me upside the head like a sledgehammer — this is what a community is supposed to do. This is how neighbors are supposed to act.
This is the kind of stuff human beings are meant to do for one another in a time of need.
It makes you proud to live in these communities and proud of Tuscarawas County.
While those dealing with home damages may not feel this way, we were pretty lucky. I haven’t heard of any major injuries and even though many of us were without power for a few days, there were friends, neighbors and relatives willing to share generators while power crews worked until dark each night trying to get things up and running.
Work in the town is not finished, but the cleanup is off to a great start.
Speaking of power outages, our home was one without power until Thursday evening. The AEP crews — as well as the subcontractors — worked from what my grandma would call “can see to can’t see.”
Thanks guys. It was fantastic to get home and hear the air conditioner running.
On another point, the Times-Reporter’s newsroom will be moving in the near future. We’ll be taking up an office in downtown New Philadelphia.
We’ll talk more about that next week.
Hank Keathley is the managing editor of The Times-Reporter. Reach him at: hank.keathley@TimesReporter.com