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Army of volunteers help clean up debris for tornado victims

Posted at 7:10 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 21:04:19-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Kan.  — An army of volunteers helped those impacted by this week's tornado in Douglas and Leavenworth counties on Friday.

Along 1400 Road in rural Douglas County, dozens of volunteers pitched in to help clean up the mess.

"It’s pretty devastating and there’s so much to go through," volunteer Barbara Tholen said/

Jennifer Parker from Overland Park agreed, "There’s just an amazing amount of damage."

Each of the volunteers had different reasons helping, including some who appreciated assistance from others in the past.

"When bad things have happened to me in life, other people have stepped up," Laurie Folson said. "So, I woke my daughter up this morning and said, 'Let's go put some good into the world and go volunteer.'"

Before the volunteers headed out, they stopped by the United Methodist Church in Lawrence to sign in, pick up supplies and, in some cases, get a tetanus shot.

"Anything that can be done to help the homeowners to begin again and to give them a fresh start," Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Hollie Tapley said.

Each volunteer Friday received a white badge. There will be a different color each day.

"We don’t want scammers in," Tapley said. "We don’t want people just joyriding and going through and, 'Oh, let me take a picture of somebody’s house.'"

For the volunteers, it was a chance to give what they can during this tough time for so many — time and a helping hand.

"I’m really sad for people," Tholen said.

Organizers expect more volunteers Saturday and throughout the weekend for a cleanup process that undoubtedly will take a long time.