Blanks settle into friend’s condo as their home is rebuiltWritten 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 could be home by Christmas.
Mark Rigg of Rigg Restoration said construction on the family’s new house began Aug. 16. Since then, “we got the new footers poured and we got the foundation repaired from the tornado damage,” he said.
Rigg expects construction to take four months, which includes rebuilding a slightly larger house with a more spacious kitchen and a room above the garage. Other than that, the house will have similar features to the one destroyed in the tornado, including the in-ground pool that was used just hours before the storm.
If all goes according to schedule, “hopefully, we will have them in for Christmas,” Rigg said.
Meanwhile, the latest angel in their lives is their family doctor and friend, Kristi Sigler. The family is living in the Lake alumna’s condo in Oregon.
Ed Blank said Sigler had already moved out because she had built a new home and was trying to sell the condo when the tornado occurred June 5. When the Blanks moved into the condo the first week of August, it still had the for-sale sign in the window. Sigler did not return a call for comment.
“I hope it is off the market. The sign is in the front window,” Ed said, recalling his reaction to the sign.
“Wait, the realtor took the sign out today. It is temporarily off the market,” he said, laughing.
Up until a few weeks ago, the Blanks were living with family friends, Steve and Becci Bihn. Despite the offer to live in the condo immediately after the tornado, the Blanks wanted to stay where they had beds and kitchen supplies. They wanted to see how the insurance process would work and what would be replaced.
Ed said having the condo is nice, but they miss the Bihns. In fact, they have missed them so much that when Ed went to a golf tournament, his wife, Julie, and son, Casey, went back to stay with the Bihns.
“It does feel nice to have our own space, even though we have a little bit of empty nest syndrome,” Ed said.
Despite having their own space again, the Blanks are sparingly decorating the condo. They said they don’t want to move all of the items that survived the storm until they have their new house.
“We moved things from people’s barns and ended up getting a storage unit for some of the stuff we didn’t want to have at the condo,” he said.
The one downside to the condo is its location in Oregon, which is outside of Lake Local School district. This means that son, Casey, does not get bus transportation to the temporary high school in Northwood. The sophomore turned 15 a few days after the tornado. Plus, Casey is involved in after school activities, including golf, which might lead to more transportation needs, according to Ed. School starts on Aug. 26.
“There will be a lot of running, but that is fine” Ed said.