Blank family sharing Thanksgiving with relativesWritten 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.
When the Blanks sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, they know exactly why they will be giving thanks.
“I am thankful to be alive and just to be surrounded by family and friends and I am fortunate to have survived the tornado and to live in such a good community,” Julie Blank said.
“And she’s thankful for a great husband,” Ed Blank chimed in.
The Blanks usually host Thanksgiving dinner, but this year they will be going to their nephew’s house.
“With them rebuilding this year, they don’t really have the room, so my wife and I offered and we are glad to have them here,” Dr. Kyle Williamson said.
Kyle remembers finding out about his aunt and uncle’s house.
“I am the type of person who is outside watching the sky. I am a physician who said if medicine didn’t work out, I wanted to be a storm chaser,” Kyle said.
But on June 5, he and his family sought safety in their basement and then went to bed after the storm had passed. It wasn’t until the next morning that he checked his phone and learned that Julie and her family had lost their house. When he found out a toddler on his aunt and uncle’s street had died, it made him think about losing his own young sons.
“I went upstairs, cried and hugged my wife,” Kyle said.
Julie said when they have the room to host Thanksgiving, “it is a pretty big crowd.” Between them, they have three grown boys who come, depending on plans with other relatives. Julie also invites her sister and brother-in-law for dinner, as well as Kyle and his family. Ed and Julie also have a teenage son, Casey.
“It is going to be different not being in the house, but I am looking forward to going somewhere because I have never been anywhere,” Julie said.
Ed doesn’t get out of making the turkey and stuffing, though.
“Ed usually does it and will do it this year,” Julie said.
The Blanks are still determining if Ed will make it the night before and cart it over to Kyle’s place in Perrysburg or if the cooking will be done that morning.
Ed said he is thankful for family, friends and the overwhelming support provided in the days that followed the tornado.
“It is a guilty pleasure to see how many people survived the tornado while never forgetting those who did not,” he said.
“I am thankful to live in and be a part of a wonderful community,” Ed said. “I will never forget those first responders who were on the scene in just minutes and for many days after June 5. The memories and pictures will be etched in my mind forever of those who were at the sites of all of the victims offering a helping hand.”
Kyle is thankful he can host the Blanks.
“We are just providing the place for all of us to get together and give thanks,” he said.