Blank family enjoys summer, despite tornado recoveryWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for the next year as they rebuild their lives after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
The Blanks are refreshed after returning from an impromptu trip to Myrtle Beach.
“We had an opportunity that presented itself and we took advantage of it,” Ed Blank said. “We were given a great deal on the condo and we needed to get away from everything.”
Ed said no one thought he was serious. But he was firm. When his friends and family said, “We aren’t going.” He said, “Yes, we are.”
“We laid by the pool, went down by the beach, played a little golf,” Ed said. “The weather was between 95 and 100 degrees every day … very warm and humid. The beach was nice and the food was good down there.”
More importantly, “we got to sit and relax,” he said. “Honestly, since the tornado, we haven’t sat and relaxed at all. There hasn’t been a night where we went to bed before 12:30 a.m.”
The Blanks took the Bihns, the family they have been staying with since the tornado. The families usually go to Myrtle Beach every other summer and this was supposed to be the year off.
“I was resistant,” Becci Bihn said. “I was like, ‘Ed you are not doing that. I offered for you to live here. It is not because I want you to pay me. It is not because I expect anything from you in return. This is what friends do. This is my way of giving back.’”
But in the end, the two sets of adults and the four children who went were glad they did.
“It was nice and relaxing. Nice to get away,” Becci said. “We didn’t talk about the house. We didn’t talk about the tornado.”
Ed said a lot of people think that because his family lost their house, they should stop living. But, “I still have a job, vacation time and a life,” he said.
“They think that your life is over and you should be sitting on a street corner with a can that says ‘help me’,” he said.
In Myrtle Beach, his wife Julie spent some of her content replacement money on rebuilding her wardrobe. Ed said it was nice that she got to do that.
“I am a girly girl — I am a clothes and shoes hound,” she said.
Since the tornado, a tub of her summer tops and shorts were recovered from the wreckage; however, she keeps thinking of accessories to go with them and remembers she doesn’t have them anymore. She wants the accessories for an upcoming cruise.
The family leaves later this month for a West Caribbean cruise that will take them to Cozumel, Belize and Grand Cayman Islands. This trip will be just for Ed, Julie and son Casey.
“We tried to cancel it, but the airlines and cruise line wouldn’t cooperate,” Ed said. “We didn’t feel right going, but if you don’t buy the cruise insurance, you are stuck; you almost have to go.”
Julie said the cruise was planned in November with the final payment made in May.
At least, “it will be a place for us to live for one week,” she said.