Son’s attention turns from tragedy to more normal pursuitsWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
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Casey Blank will be days away from becoming a licensed driver when his family marks the one-year anniversary of a tornado destroying their house.
It is a much-desired milestone for the 15 ½-year-old whose year has been filled with loss.
The sophomore at Lake High School has recently started driver’s education at Toledo Driving School and has begun to fill the requirements of driving with his parents for 50 hours during the daylight and 10 hours at night.
“I am looking forward to driving, so I can go places with my friends,” Casey said, who received his temporary license Dec. 11.
Casey turned 15 on June 8 – three days after the tornado. His birthday party was the night of the tornado, but the guests had just left when his family retreated to safety in the basement.
Since the tornado, Casey and his family have lived with friends and then moved into a condo in another city while their home was rebuilt. They moved into their new house Dec. 19.
In addition to losing his home, Casey also lost his high school. He is attending the temporary Lake High School in a building owned by Owens in Northwood.
“I have gotten used to it,” Casey said. “It seems like my school now.”
Ever the jokester, his dad, Ed Blank, said he has tried to think of ways to design a car with a brake on the passenger side.
“He is getting better, but he has the major misconception of the gas and brake. He means to hit the brake, but he hits the gas,” Ed said, laughing. “He almost took down the condo we were living in and almost took down his brother’s mailbox.”
Ed has been through the angst of his other boys getting their licenses, but it never gets easier. Between Ed and wife Julie, they have four sons. Casey is the youngest.
“The most irritating question is every time we get on 795, he asks me, ‘What is the speed limit?’” Ed said.
Casey said he prefers to drive with his mom, although his dad “is fine, I guess.”
“I might be getting my mom’s car or getting a used or old car … I hope I get a used or old car,” he said.
Casey said returning home has been wonderful. When the high school is rebuilt for his senior year, he will only be a few minutes away. With the school in Northwood, Casey’s commute is 20 minutes.
“It is going to be pretty cool. The school is going to have a whole new design and stuff,” Casey said.
The bonus room in the new house is his favorite room and it is becoming “my place,” he said. With a television and couch, the room is perfect for hanging out and inviting friends to watch movies. The room also has the perfect accessory — his Xbox.
“It feels like we have been gone awhile, but it feels good to be back,” Casey said.