After what the National Weather Service has called “at least” an EF-3 tornado ripped through Celina, Ohio, the community is working together to pick up the pieces.
Celina First Church of God has opened its doors for everyone affected to seek shelter, food and air conditioning. The tornado tore the roof off several homes in Celina, leaving many to need a place like Celina First Church of God as a safe place to sleep. The high demand led to a large response according to church officials.
“It is just phenomenal how a community can come together,” said relief volunteer Jeremy Brewster. “This whole entire community, every factory, everybody in the town of Celina has stopped and bought food, bought water, Gatorade, ice, whatever or donated.”
Having the roof torn off your home can be a traumatizing event. Some in Celina are still shaken.
“It sounded like the house shook,” Kenzie Conn, a storm victim, said. “We all ran under the stairs, and all of a sudden, there was this big train noise. It was so loud. Then we heard our roof start falling on the stairs, so the stairs started shaking, and yeah, it was scary.”
Despite the fear of more severe weather, people in Celina are working to make sure everyone is taken care of.
“We’ll be here all night if we need to be,” said Brewster. “We’re going to be here all day tomorrow doing the same thing, taking stuff for people, having a place for people to get in, who obviously do not have a home anymore. They can stay here the night if they need to.”
That kind of community response has left victims of the storm feeling grateful.
“I’m so thankful for the people of Celina,” said Nikki Wirwille, a storm victim. “The Red Cross has come through. People have brought candy and food and drinks.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has declared a state of emergency in Mercer County, where Celina is located. That declaration allows the State to dedicate more resources to the cleanup effort.