Casey Blank among students aiding flood victimsWritten 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.
Casey Blank is thankful for all the assistance his family received after the June 5 tornado. Now, he is returning the goodwill.
Casey is scheduled to help the Findlay flood victims during a Lake High School field trip March 4. The school arranged for students who are involved in a sport or activity to go with their coaches or advisers to participate in the cleanup. Approximately 175 students are going.
“I feel good to give back because a lot of people helped me when I needed help. It all meant a lot to me,” Casey said.
The day after Casey and his family’s house was destroyed by the tornado, they returned to the property. His mother, Julie, was so overwhelmed with the number of volunteers that she thought she was having a heart attack. She wasn’t, but she still ended up in the hospital with broken heart syndrome. The syndrome involves a condition where intense emotional or physical stress can cause rapid and severe heart muscle weakness.
“I am really excited about this happening,” Julie said of the cleanup. “It is really cool. Because of what Lake went through, I think this is good.”
Casey said it means a lot for the students to participate in the cleanup because their high school was also destroyed by the tornado.
“We are all excited to leave school, but we are excited that we get to give back to the people,” he said.
Tammy Tapley, director of student activities, said the idea started with Superintendent Jim Witt. He sent an e-mail to the administration team and the plan for the service day came together quickly.
“We had so much help after the tornado and we just felt like it would be nice for our kids to get a chance to do something to pay back or pay forward or however you want to look at it,” Tapley said.
When Tapley talked to the mayor’s office in Findlay, she told them to think about how the students could help and let her know before the buses leave 8 a.m. March 4.
“I [can] tell that they are overwhelmed. I told them, ‘I get where you are at.’”
She remembers people calling after the tornado saying they had 100 kids who could help. At first, it was hard to figure out what to do, even though so much needed to be done.
The important thing is to be helpful, not a hindrance, she said. The students were told not to sign up for the trip unless they wanted to work hard. March 4 is supposed to be wet and cold. “It won’t be a party,” Tapley said.