Storming Back: Easter provides family celebration time for BlanksWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for one year as they rebuild their lives after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
The Blanks are preparing to celebrate Easter by christening their newly bought grill.
The old grill was blown away in the June 5 tornado that destroyed their home but reinforced their faith.
“I don’t want to say we are super super religious as much as we are believers. I think we have a pretty strong faith,” Ed Blank said.
Even when the family wants to skip church, they try not to.
“Every day you go to church, you walk out feeling good. On the days you don’t go, you feel like a part of you is missing,” Ed said.
The Easter grilling session will come after a Sunday morning service at Zion Lutheran Church-Latcha.
The holiday — and the church — means a lot to the family. Pastor Sarah Teichmann, her husband, Erik, and members of the congregation have supported the Blanks since the tornado.
The Blanks were supposed to meet the new pastor the morning after the storm, but instead had to pick through rubble.
“The Lutheran synod was instrumental in getting us back on our feet,” Ed said. “A lot of church members to this day ask us if we need anything. The church group has been our blanket of recovery. They have been very, very, very instrumental in helping us cope with what we went through and us not having our neighbors, the Walters, next door anymore.”
Three of the four Walters died in the tornado. This loss has reinforced the Blanks’ desire to be with family on the holidays and whenever possible. Julie Blank invited her sister and brother-in-law among other relatives to Easter dinner.
The Blanks bought the grill from The Andersons, although settled on a version less extravagant than the grill that “is in Kansas now,” Ed said.
He and his friends had always referred to that grill as the “BAG,” the big-ass grill.
“Everybody said, ‘What are you cooking on the BAG today?’”
The newest grill looks like “it has been exercising because it is not quite as big as before,” he said.
The grill lost in the tornado cost nearly $1,000, but this time Ed decided to be more economical. The smaller grill isn’t expected to affect the big Easter celebration, though.
“Now it is the MAG, the medium-ass grill,” Ed said, laughing.