Storming Back: Block party to mark first anniversary of tornadoWritten 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 the June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
Ed and Julie Blank are planning to honor the one-year anniversary of the June 5 tornado with their friends and neighbors.
The idea is to host a June 4 block party that will carry into June 5, which will mark one year since the tornado. The damage was some of the worst on Main Street in Millbury where the Blanks and their neighbors lost their homes.
But the most heartbreaking loss was the death of three of the four members of the Walters family, who lived next door to the Blanks.
“I am not really sure how it will go,” Julie said. “I don’t know what to envision for the block party, but I am sure there will be lots of people. I am sure it will be emotional.”
Ed said he wants to secure vendors who are willing to donate food and beverages to the block party. He said he also wants to block off the street and bring in some bands.
While Ed agrees that the party will be somber, the party will also be joyful because of those who survived and returned to rebuild.
He wants the public to know that the neighborhood is coming back to life.
Ed and Julie decided to rebuild in the same spot because of their love for the community.
“There is no better place. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Ed said.
The Blanks made their triumphant return to the neighborhood one week before Christmas. More neighbors have since returned.
Julie ended up in the hospital with heart damage after the tornado. The condition was fittingly called broken heart syndrome. Ed said the trauma of the devastation caused the condition, but what got Julie the most was how giving and helpful everyone was immediately after the tornado.
“People were walking up and handing us money out of their pockets,” he said.
Ed said the block party will be a chance for everyone to get together and celebrate making it one year. By then, he expects more of the neighborhood to be rebuilt.
The block party will also be a time to thank everyone for their support. To help with the block party, call Ed at (419) 508-9693.
“It is going to be a major celebration,” Ed said.